IRA revision unlikely with U.S. Congress in lame-duck session: lawmakers

SEOUL– U.S. lawmakers have said that any revision to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is unlikely during a lame-duck session of Congress, as South Korea has called for solutions to the legislation’s discriminatory features regarding electric vehicles, according to Seoul’s industry ministry Friday.

The opinions were raised during this week’s meetings between several U.S. lawmakers and a South Korean joint delegation of the government and the National Assembly, including Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The delegation arrived in Washington on Monday for a five-day visit as part of their all-out efforts to sell solutions on the IRA that gives up to US$7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles assembled only in North America.

The law, signed by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, 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.

On Monday and Tuesday, the delegation met several senators and members of the House, including Tom Carper, Richard Neal, Suzan Delbene and Emanuel Cleaver, and appealed for them to play a role.

“The lawmakers acknowledged the seriousness of the issue, and shared the need for balanced approaches to the matter in order to prevent it from affecting the South Korea-U.S. alliance,” the ministry said in a release.

“But many of them said that the passage of a revision would not be easy during a lame-duck session, given time constraints and the current political landscape,” it added.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Ahn held meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai; John Podesta, the senior adviser to the U.S. president for clean energy innovation and implementation; and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, regarding the act.

Ahn asked for reflecting South Korea’s demand to its envisioned guidance, including easing regulations on the final assembly of EVs and batteries, among other things.

“The two sides agreed that South Korea should not suffer disadvantages compared with the European Union and other nations over the course of the law implementation,” the ministry said.

“The U.S. side said that it is reviewing public input it received on the law, and it will continue close consultations with South Korea,” it added.

Last week, South Korea sent its second official written opinion to Washington on tax benefits for clean hydrogen and fuel production and commercial eco-friendly cars, following the first official comment on EVs and related sectors last month.

Biden recently acknowledged that the law may have “glitches” and hinted at making “tweaks” to it.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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