US, South Korea exchange ‘frank views’ amid EV subsidies dispute

Tensions over economic issues come as South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol makes first US trip.

Electric vehicles
South Korean carmakers such as Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Corp are no longer eligible for federal tax credits after US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act last month [File: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

The United States on Wednesday said its commerce secretary and South Korea’s trade minister exchanged “frank views” over Seoul’s pending legislation on network usage fees on foreign content providers and Washington’s electric vehicle credits during a meeting.

The Inflation Reduction Act law, signed by President Joe Biden last month, eliminates federal tax credits for electric vehicles made outside North America, meaning companies, including Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Corp, will no longer be eligible for such subsidies.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol arrived for his first official trip to the US this week but the tensions threatened to disrupt a recent display of alliance strength with Washington.

In South Korea, there is a legislative push to make the likes of Netflix and Alphabet’s Google pay local network fees.

While the readout from the US Commerce Department said Secretary Gina Raimondo and South Korea’s Lee Chang-yang reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral economic relationship, it also hinted at tensions.

The pair “exchanged frank views on US concerns about South Korea’s pending legislation to impose network usage fees on foreign content providers and South Korea’s concerns relating to electric vehicle tax credits,” it said.

Source: Reuters