Korean Battery Makers Fear Retaliation from China Over THAAD

  • By Lee Kil-seong

    January 02, 2017 10:54

    Korean battery makers fear that China is punishing them for the government's decision to let the U.S. station a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.

    Beijing last week reversed itself within hours to bar Chinese electric cars with Korean-made batteries from sought-after green subsidies.

    According to the Korean Embassy in Beijing, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on the morning of Dec. 29 announced a fifth list of cars that qualify for subsidies for eco-friendly cars.

    It included five models equipped with batteries from Samsung SDI and LG Chem, but that same afternoon, the ministry published a revised list that excludes the five models.

    They were a Dongfeng electric trucks, a Shanghai GM Cadillac hybrid sedan, two SAIC Roewe hybrid models, and a Shaanxi electric truck.

    In 2015, LG Chem opened a factory with annual battery capacity for 100,000 EVs in Nanjing, and Samsung SDI completed a factory with annual capacity of batteries for 150,000 EVs in Xian.

    But both failed to win certification from Beijing in a review in June last year because their capacity is not big enough. LG and Samsung then prepared for another review slated for December, but that has not yet gotten underway.

    Of the 493 Chinese EV models that do qualify for subsidies, about 50 have Chinese-made batteries whose manufacturers have also yet to be certified.

    Last week, China's Civil Aviation Administration also turned down applications from Korean airlines like Asiana, Jeju Air and Jin Air for eight charter flights over the Chinese Spring Festival next month. 

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