By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- The United States is committed to continuing dialogue with South Korea to address the latter's concerns over a U.S. government tax credit for electric vehicles that currently excludes South Korean-made vehicles from the incentive, a senior state department official said Thursday.
Jose Fernandez, under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, made the remarks while calling South Korea an important partner in achieving the goals set out by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
"We know, I know, that there are concerns in the ROK regarding the Inflation Reduction Act," the under secretary said while referring to South Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.
"And if you take anything away from what I say this morning, we are committed to continue dialogue with the ROK while the implementation process of the of the inflation reduction, and I am glad to say that the US and Korea maintain these very open and frank lines of communication," he added in an annual forum organized by the Korea Economic Institute.
Seoul has been expressing concerns over the IRA, which was signed into law in August, offering a government tax credit of up to US$7,500 to electric vehicles assembled in North America.
Fernandez said the IRA represents the "single largest investment in clean energy, supply chains" in entire U.S. history, but noted the U.S. alone cannot achieve its goals.
"It (IRA) is projected to deliver 10 times the climate impact of any other piece of legislation signed by any U.S. president in U.S. history," Fernandez said.
"But we cannot do this alone, and we realized that. We need our partners to achieve the goals that are outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act, partners like the ROK, known for its strong automotive and battery production industry," he added.
The under secretary also highlighted the importance of the U.S.-South Korea alliance in dealing with emerging global challenges.
"Together, we face unprecedented threats from both authoritarian states, like the People's Republic of China, Russia, and the challenges that are posed by actors like the PRC only serve to highlight new areas, areas like protecting sensitive technologies, where we should cooperate with other responsible economies to reduce vulnerabilities and to defend the rules based international order," he said.
"With our governments and our entire economies cooperating closely, I believe that Korea will continue to be the linchpin of our relationship with the Indo-Pacific and I look forward to be part of that discussion," he added.
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