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(LEAD) Biden sends letter to Yoon expressing willingness for talks on IRA

Diplomacy 16:25 October 05, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with details from 4th para)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Joe Biden has sent a letter to President Yoon Suk-yeol expressing his willingness to continue frank and open-minded talks on the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, a presidential official said Wednesday.

Biden also said in the letter the previous day that he is well aware of Yoon's concerns about the IRA, the official told reporters.

The IRA gives tax credits only to electric vehicles assembled in North America, raising concerns it will act as a significant trade barrier for Korean carmakers.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol (C) talks with U.S. President Joe Biden (L) after attending the seventh replenishment conference of the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York, in this Sept. 21, 2022, file photo. On the right is South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin. (Yonhap)

Last month, Yoon asked Biden to resolve the concerns when they met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Biden responded at the time that he was well aware of the concerns, and that South Korea and the U.S. should continue serious consultations on the matter.

"President Biden's letter was written based on the two leaders' discussions on the IRA during their multiple meetings in New York and London last month," the official said.

"We assess that by once again expressing his understanding of our concerns through a personally signed letter and by clearly stating the positive role of South Korean businesses, President Biden expressed his commitment to President Yoon to showing consideration to South Korean businesses in the future," the official added.

The IRA has emerged as a key source of strain between the allies despite their continued cooperation on security issues amid North Korea's increased missile testing and nuclear threats.

Biden said in his letter he is confident a crucial role will be played by the U.S. alongside South Korea in strengthening the alliance and achieving their joint goals, the official said.


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