Jose W. Fernandez, U.S. under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment is in Seoul this week to meet with Lee Do-hoon, second vice foreign minister, to discuss energy, emerging technologies and supply chains.
Their meeting, scheduled at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul on Tuesday, will be their second in a few weeks. Lee traveled to Washington D.C. in December to meet with Fernandez and members of U.S. Congress to discuss Korea’s concerns about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The two were expected to hold a press conference following their meeting Tuesday.
The IRA, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden last August, grants up to $7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) assembled in North America.
Korea is concerned because it prohibits subsidies for purchases of EVs made outside the United States or with batteries made with Chinese minerals or components. Hyundai Motor and Kia both make EVs in local plants in Korea.
It asked the U.S. government in November to apply the IRA tax incentives for three years to companies currently building EV factories in the U.S. This way, Korean EVs made outside of the United States would be able to reap the same benefits, until Hyundai Motor’s EV factory in the U.S. opens in 2025.
Fernandez will be in Korea through Wednesday before he flies to Tokyo. He was also scheduled to meet with women executives in Korea for a roundtable discussion organized by the American Chamber of Commerce.
His visit this week is the first by a high-ranking official from the United States this year, the 70th anniversary of the Korea-U.S. alliance.
In Tokyo, Fernandez will participate in the fifth annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum and meet with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, according to the State Department.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]