(Bloomberg) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin gave Secretary of State Antony Blinken a reminder that Seoul still has concerns about the Biden administration’s landmark climate and energy bill.
Speaking alongside Blinken in Washington on Friday, Park pledged to work more closely with the US and Japan on a range of issues including halting North Korean cryptocurrency theft. He added, however, that he hoped to see the concerns of South Korean conglomerates taken into consideration as the US implements the Inflation Reduction Act, which has frustrated South Korean companies and officials.
“We will also work together to ensure that the Inflation Reduction Act is implemented in ways that address Korean companies’ concerns, and benefit both our businesses and industries,” Park said.
That legislation, which favors the American auto industry, has frustrated companies and governments across Asia and Europe, who see it cutting them out of a major market.
President Joe Biden on Friday scoffed at “the idea that I’m getting criticized because we are having so much progress.”
“As I point out to our friends in the EU: Don’t get angry, we’re going to be the beginning of the supply chain, because that’s the only guarantee you’ll have access,” he said at a Democratic National Committee event in Philadelphia. “I’ll be damned as long as I’m president, we’re going to be the end of the supply chain again.”
The act requires electric vehicle manufacturers to assemble their cars in North America and reduce their reliance on China for battery components and materials in order for buyers to get a maximum $7,500 in tax credits. That’s been a major drawback for Hyundai and affiliated Kia, who don’t have any operational EV plants in the US.
The US is seeking to assuage Hyundai Motor Co.’s concerns over parts of Biden’s climate and energy bill, which the South Korean auto giant has argued could put it at a disadvantage in the American market.
The South Korean carmaker said in May it is investing $5.5 billion to build an EV assembly and battery plant near Savannah, Georgia. Hyundai said the project would create 8,100 new jobs at the twin plants, breaking ground this year with production to start in 2025.
Park separately said that North Korea had stepped up its illicit cyber activities, including cryptocurrency theft, as a result of United Nations sanctions on the Pyongyang regime.
“We must consolidate international efforts to block North Korea’s illicit revenue stream,” he said, adding that the US, Japan and South Korea should coordinate on that effort and leave “Pyongyang with no option but to return to dialog and give up its nuclear development.”
--With assistance from Jenny Leonard.
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