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(LEAD) S. Korean trade chief to attend ministerial IPEF meeting

Corporate Newsroom 09:29 September 08, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with Ahn's meeting with Tai on EV tax incentives in last 3 paras, additional photo)

SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun will attend a ministerial meeting of the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in Los Angeles this week ahead of the launch of official negotiations among member nations, Seoul's trade ministry said Thursday.

The two-day meeting, which is set to begin on Thursday (U.S. time), will be the first face-to-face ministerial talks since May when U.S. President Joe Biden launched the economic framework.

"South Korea will take part in discussions on the promotion of regional economic activities and investment, as well as inclusive and sustainable economic growth, in a way that best serves our national interests," the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

Ahn will join top trade officials from 13 other member nations, including the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India and Singapore, to discuss agenda items and the scope of their planned negotiations, the ministry said.

This week's meeting will be co-hosted by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, it added.

The member nations have held several rounds of high-level talks as part of preparations for official negotiations, with their exact schedule yet to be fixed.

The IPEF covers four key areas -- fair trade, supply chain resilience, infrastructure and green technology, and tax and anti-corruption, according to the ministry.

South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun (L) speaks with U.S. congressman Adrian Smith during their meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 6, 2022, in this photo released by the South Korean ministry. Ahn is in the U.S. capital to hold talks with senior U.S. officials over South Korea's concerns in relation to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which excludes electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax incentives. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Ahn arrived in Washington on Monday and met with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, other administration officials and lawmakers to discuss the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax credits.

Following the talks, Seoul and Washington agreed to open an engagement channel on the issues, according to Ahn's office.

The IRA, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, gives up to US$7,500 in tax credits to buyers of EVs assembled only in North America, sparking concerns that South Korean carmakers here will lose ground in the U.S. market as they make EVs at domestic plants for export.

Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun (L) attends the inaugural ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework via video link from Seoul on May 23, 2022, in this file photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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