U.S., South Korea to Focus on Chips, EVs, Batteries to Boost Economic Partnership

United States and South Korea agreed to boost economic partnership in critical technology industries, including semiconductors, electric vehicles (EVs) and EV batteries, South Korean President Yoon said during his trip to Washington, where he met Biden. The two leaders met on Wednesday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. The two presidents reaffirmed their commitment to their alliance focused on deepening defense and security ties, expanding economic, commercial, and environmental cooperation, increasing digital and technology collaboration—including in the space sector—and broadening development assistance, educational exchanges, and people-to-people ties.

The United States and the ROK have forged economic ties, from mutual prosperity to commercial investment and from environmental cooperation to stronger cultural connections. Biden and Yoon affirmed that the United States and South Korea are committed to advancing economic, commercial, and environmental cooperation.

South Korean companies have announced more than $100 billion in new investments in the United States since the beginning of the Biden Administration. The top destination of South Korean investment from 2021 to date is the United States. The United States is the second leading investor in South Korea. These investments are increasing bilateral cooperation in areas such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, biotechnology, clean energy, and creative content.

Hyundai Motor Group recently announced a $5.4 billion electric vehicle plant in Georgia, which is under construction.

SK Innovation is working with Ford to invest $11.4 billion on two electric battery parks under construction in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Samsung Electronics semiconductor manufacturing facility in Texas is also under construction and represents an investment of up to $25 billion.

Hanwha Q Cells is investing $2.5 billion on the expansion of its solar factories in Georgia.

The two sides have also discussed Broader Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). “The United States and South Korea are working to advance IPEF and achieve high-standard commitments across all four Pillars. For its part, South Korea plans to host an IPEF negotiation round in Busan later this year.” a White House statement said.

The United States is looking to deepen cooperation and engagement with South Korea on economic security measures, including through new working groups in the bilateral Supply Chain and Commercial Dialogue (SCCD). Through these efforts, the United States and South Korea are increasing cooperation on semiconductor incentive programs, research initiatives, and supply chain risks, as well as strengthening cooperation on export controls.

Seoul will make available $5.3 billion during the next five years to support its critical minerals and battery manufacturing investments in North America.  The United States and South Korea will pursue the establishment of a more resilient supply chain, including by playing leading roles in the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP).

To accelerate the decarbonization of the shipping sector, the two nations committed to sign a joint statement on ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in the International Maritime Organization, support the establishment of the U.S.-South Korea Green Shipping Corridor announced by the two countries at the COP27 in 2022, and broaden technological and information sharing cooperation, particularly on green shipping.

The two countries held a ministerial-level meeting under the Energy Policy Dialogue (EPD) to identify priority areas for continued collaboration on economy-wide decarbonization. The EPD aims to advance policy and technical exchanges and reinforces the two nations’ commitment to advancing clean energy goals.

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