(ATTN: ADDS more trade meetings of Ahn in last 6 paras)
SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States have agreed to continue close consultations to seek solutions regarding a new U.S. law that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside of North America from tax incentives, Seoul's trade ministry said Monday.
The consensus was reached during bilateral talks between Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai in Bangkok on Friday on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The IRA, signed into law 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 Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. could lose ground in the U.S. market as the two South Korean carmakers assemble their EVs at domestic plants for export to the U.S.
"During the meeting, Ahn stressed deep concerns by our government and businesses, and called for devising detailed measures to practically ease the concerns at an early date," the ministry said in a release.
Seoul and Washington have been in talks over the issue through a working-level channel, as well as a series of high-level talks.
South Korea has strongly voiced the need to create exceptions for Korean-made EVs.
Ahn also held separate talks with senior trade officials from Vietnam, the Philippines and Chile in Thailand.
During a meeting with the Philippines' trade minister, Alfredo Pascual, on Thursday, Ahn discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation in nuclear power generation and asked for the country's support for South Korean firms taking part in various related projects.
He also met with Vietnam's vice trade minister on Thursday, during which he called for the nation's active push for the implementation of the mega trade pact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Vietnam has yet to wrap up necessary domestic administrative procedures for the application of agreed-upon tariffs, according to the ministry.
RCEP has 15 members -- 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- and the deal took effect for South Korea in February this year.
On Friday, Ahn and Chile's vice trade minister discussed envisioned negotiations to upgrade their Free Trade Agreement and ways to deepen ties in key minerals, the ministry said.
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