Washington will work to address South Korea’s concerns over recently enacted electric vehicle (EV) subsidies that could disadvantage Asian automakers, according to US Vice-President Kamala Harris.
Harris spoke on Tuesday to South Korea’s prime minister about the Inflation Reduction Act, a law enacted in August with a host of President Joe Biden’s priorities – moves to counter climate change and make Washington a world leader in the EV market.
Among the law’s are requirements that EVs be assembled in North America to qualify for tax credits. It also ends subsidies for other EV models and requires that a percentage of critical minerals used in those cars’ batteries come from the United States or an American free-trade partner.
Harris, visiting Japan for the funeral of former PM Shinzo Abe, met with South Korea’s Han Duck-soo.
During their meeting she “underscored that she understood (Korean) concerns regarding the Act’s tax incentives for electric vehicles, and they pledged to continue to consult as the law is implemented,” the White House said.
“The Vice-President and Prime Minister discussed our shared work to address the climate crisis, including the historic investments made in clean energy under the Inflation Reduction Act,” the White House added.
Biden has sought to deepen business with South Korea as part of a bid to increase US manufacturing jobs and build a united front against China, who he views as the country’s key ideological and economic competitor.
Korean officials see the new requirements as a betrayal after South Korean companies agreed to make major investments and build factories in the United States.
Heavily industrialised South Korea will set back Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Corp in the world’s largest consumer market. Cars are South Korea’s third-largest export.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard