U.S. to seek solutions to Seoul's concerns about IRA: U.S. Vice President

Kim Dae-gi, Han Ye-kyung and Minu Kim 2022. 9. 30. 08:27
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[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris promised South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday that Washington will look for solutions to Seoul’s concerns about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which potentially discriminates South Korean electric vehicles in the U.S. market.

During a meeting with Harris at the presidential office in Seoul, Yoon said he expects the United States and South Korea to closely cooperate to produce a mutually satisfying agreement in the spirit of the South Korea-U.S. free trade agreement regarding the IRA, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung.

In response, Harris said not only she, but also President Biden, are well aware of South Korea’s concerns and will work carefully to find ways to resolve the concerns in the process of legal implementation.

There is some coordination going between the two countries, and this means that the two sides are discussing measures to supplement the current legislation after the U.S. midterm elections, a senior presidential office official said.

Korean car makers and battery manufacturers are concerned about sales of their EVs and related parts in the U.S. since the enactment of the IRA that gives subsidies only to EVs manufactured in the U.S. with U.S.A.-made parts.

Harris also reaffirmed that the two countries will work closely to set up liquidity swap lines including a Korean won-U.S. dollar currency swap to stabilize the financial market if it is necessary, according to an official from the Korean presidential office. The Bank of Korea and U.S. Federal Reserve are actively exchanging information to prepare a currency swap line, the official added.

[Photo by Press Corp.]
Harris visited South Korea after her trip to Japan where she attended a state funeral for former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. The last time a U.S. incumbent vice president visited South Korea was in February 2018, when Mike Pence led a delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Yoon and Harris met for 85 minutes, about twice as long as the scheduled time, amid a controversy surrounding Yoon's 48-second meeting with Biden in New York last week. Yoon and Harris discussed a wide range of issues, including ways to strengthen deterrence against North Korea’s increasing nuclear threats.

Harris expressed concerns about North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches and legalization of its nuclear force policy, the presidential office said, adding that the vice president reassured the ironclad U.S. commitment to the defense of South Korea.

She visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the afternoon to demonstrate the U.S.’s commitment to its key ally South Korea. Pyongyang launched short-range ballistic missiles a day before Harris’s Seoul visit and another one right after the U.S. vice president’s departure.

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