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Friday, April 19, 2024

Lee & Ko hired by government to do IRA-related legal work

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Hyundai Motor holds a groundbreaking for its EV “metaplant” in Georgia last month. The plant is to open in 2025. [HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP]
Hyundai Motor holds groundbreaking for its EV “metaplant” in Georgia last month. The plant is to open in 2025. [HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP]

Lee & Ko has been engaged by the government for legal work related to possible challenges to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Local press reports say that the government might seek to challenge the U.S. law over possible violations of World Trade Organization or U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement commitments.

In a statement released Thursday, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said nothing has been decided about potential strategies and that it will continue to negotiate with the United States on the matter.

The Korean government has been aggressively lobbying Washington to make changes to the IRA so that Korean companies can get a waiver of the requirements under the law.

It says the law violates the terms of the free trade agreement.

In a letter to President Yoon Suk-yeol, U.S. President Biden said the United States is ready for “open and honest” discussions about the IRA.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last week that the law is the law and that the president has no control over the terms of the IRA.

The law, signed in August, prohibits subsidies for the purchase of EVs made outside the United States or with batteries made with Chinese minerals or components.

Korean companies are claiming lost sales as a result of the IRA.

Lee & Ko represents the government in a case brought by private equity firms involving the role played by the government in the Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries merger.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]