S. Korea consulting closely with U.S. to minimize fallout from IRA: Vice FM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea will continue to work with the United States to address its concerns over the new U.S. law that offers tax incentives to electric vehicles assembled in North America, Seoul’s 2nd Vice Foreign Minister Lee Do-hoon said Tuesday.

Lee made the remark one day after he held a high-level economic dialogue with Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose Fernandez here in Washington.

“I came to hold discussions with the U.S. (on our concerns) ahead of an important juncture,” Lee said of his trip to the U.S. in a meeting with reporters, noting the U.S. Department of Treasury is set to publish detailed provisions for the new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) before the end of this month.

“There are things we speak directly to the treasury department, but our direct counterpart is the state department, so the No. 1 objective of my discussions is to deliver our concerns (to the state department) and have them addressed by the treasury,” Lee added.
The South Korean foreign ministry earlier said Lee used his meeting with Fernandez to again explain Seoul’s position on the IRA.

The IRA was signed into law in August, offering up to US$7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles assembled in North America.

South Korea has twice sent official letters expressing its concerns over the IRA that it could seriously undermine the competitiveness of South Korean carmakers in the U.S., who are scheduled to begin producing electric vehicles here in 2024 at the earliest.

An informed Seoul official noted the U.S. law, in the long run, may also undermine the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

“Some discriminative elements (of the law) may become a hurdle to additional (South Korean) investment in the U.S., and there also exist views that they may work against the South Korea-U.S. alliance,” the official said while speaking on condition of anonymity.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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