October 06, 2022 12:59
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday wrote to his Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol promising to continue consultations with Seoul over the scrapping of subsidies for Korean-made electric cars.
According to the presidential office here, Biden pledged to continue consultations with Korea on the protectionist Inflation Reduction Act "with an open mind," with the emphasis on the common goal of strengthening the bilateral alliance.
In a press briefing, presidential press secretary Kim Eun-hye did not show the letter but insisted that Biden has a "clear understanding" of Seoul's concerns over the IRA.
The act stops U.S. tax breaks for all EVs not made or assembled in North America, even though Korean EV makers have already pledged massive investments in production facilities there.
Kim said Biden's letter was based on "talks the two leaders held over the IRA in London and New York last month." Biden repeatedly expressed his understanding of Seoul's concerns and promised Yoon to show consideration for Korean businesses, she added.
But there seems to have been no clear commitment in the letter to a grace period until Korean carmakers have completed their factories.
The matter could be a hot potato in U.S. midterm elections, which are being fought on fiercely patriotic lines, and Biden and his Democratic Party do not wish to be seen to waver on the protectionist act for now.
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