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(LEAD) S. Korea's trade chief to visit U.S. for talks on Inflation Reduction Act

Economy 13:23 December 04, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS new info in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun will visit the United States for talks on the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that excludes electric vehicles assembled outside North America from tax incentives, the ministry said Sunday.

Ahn is set to hold meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, John Podesta, the senior adviser to the U.S. president for clean energy innovation and implementation, as well as U.S. lawmakers during a five-day visit that begins Monday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Ahn's visit came just days after South Korea sent its second official written opinion to Washington on tax benefits for clean hydrogen and fuel production and commercial eco-friendly cars over the weekend.

South Korea provided its first official comments on EVs and related sectors last month.

The IRA, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, gives up to US$7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles assembled only in North America.

The act has sparked concerns that Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. could lose ground in the U.S. market, as they produce EVs at domestic plants for export to the U.S., and South Korea has strongly voiced the need to create exceptions for Korean-made EVs.

On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden acknowledged that the law may have "glitches" during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, according to foreign media reports.

This undated file photo shows South Korea's Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun. (Yonhap)

This undated file photo shows South Korea's Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Lee Jae-myung, the head of the main opposition Democratic Party, said he has sent letters to Korean Americans in the U.S. Congress, asking for their help to revise the IRA.

In the U.S. midterm elections last month, four Korean Americans -- Andy Kim, Young Kim, Michelle Steel and Marilyn Strickland -- were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Roles of Korean American lawmakers, who have contributed to the Seoul-Washington relations, became more important than ever," Lee wrote on Facebook. "In the letter, I explained to them that concerns over the IRA should be resolved in a reasonable way."

brk@yna.co.kr
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