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(LEAD) S. Korean companies announce plans to invest $39.4 bln in U.S.

All News 00:07 May 22, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 5th para; CHANGES currency in headline, lead; ADDS photo)

WASHINGTON/SEOUL, May 21 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) -- Four major South Korean companies, including Samsung and SK, on Friday announced plans to invest US$39.4 billion in the United States, ahead of President Moon Jae-in's summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.

During a business roundtable attended by Moon, Samsung Electronics announced plans to invest $17 billion in a new foundry plant.

LG Energy Solution and SK innovation, which make batteries, said they plan to invest some $14 billion in separate and joint projects, while Hyundai Motor announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in expanding the electric vehicle production and recharging infrastructure in the U.S.

SK hynix also said it has plans to spend $1 billion on building a large-scale research and development center in Silicon Valley.

President Moon Jae-in (R) speaks at a business roundtable at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington on May 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

The announcements were widely expected as the leaders of each company accompanied Moon on his four-day visit to the U.S. capital. In the face of growing challenges from China, the Biden administration has sought to revitalize U.S. manufacturing capacity amid a global chip crisis and a looming shortage of batteries.

From the U.S. side, the American chemicals company DuPont announced it will build an R&D center in South Korea to develop semiconductor ingredients.

Moon told the meeting at the U.S. Department of Commerce that the two countries are "optimal partners" in securing a stable supply chain, something which he said has become especially important due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

He also voiced confidence that the two countries will grow together if they strengthen cooperation in the areas of semiconductors and EVs and batteries, noting that amidst the pandemic the vaccine and bio industries offer potential for "great synergy," Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon is expected to use his summit with Biden to secure more COVID-19 vaccines for South Korea.

The roundtable was attended on the South Korean side by Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kim Ki-nam, LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun and Hyundai Motor Group President Kong Young-woon, among others.

The U.S. side was represented by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, Steve Kiefer, president of GM's international operations, Novavax CEO Stanley Erck, DuPont CEO Edward Breen and Ampere Computing CEO Renee James.

This photo, provided by Samsung Electronics, shows the company's foundry plant in Austin, Texas. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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