SEOUL, Aug. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's electric vehicle (EV) battery makers are expected to face fierce competition in Europe in the upcoming years as European companies are ramping up efforts to expand their clout in the fast-growing sector, a trade organization here said Wednesday.
LG Chem Ltd., Samsung SDI Co., and SK Innovation Co. -- South Korea's major EV battery makers -- are maintaining a staunch presence in the EV battery supply chain in Europe with their massive investments in the continent, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
"But once European companies complete their investments and start mass producing their own EV batteries, it's inevitable for them to face real competition," KITA said.
KITA said it expected that annual EV sales in the continent will reach 4 million units in 2025.
LG Chem currently runs an EV battery plant in Poland and is considering building another in Europe. SK Innovation and Samsung SDI operate EV battery plants in Hungary.
European-made EV batteries only account for 4 percent of the global market, but to expand their presence, European automakers, including Volkswagen Group, recently decided to inject 145 billion euros (US$162 billion) for the next 10 years to set up their own EV battery plants, KITA said. The Europeans also formed the European Battery Union in 2017.
The European Union (EU) has inked free trade agreements with Central and South American countries that produce key materials for EV batteries, which means that South Korea should also move forward to sign deals with countries that produce raw materials like lithium and cobalt in order to secure a stable supply network.
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