Leaders of South Korea’s major conglomerates will accompany President Moon Jae-in on his trip to the United States for his first summit with US President Joe Biden, industry sources said Thursday.
Unlike previous presidential visits, this one will not include an official business delegation due to safety concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, the government has reportedly asked select companies in the fields of semiconductors, biopharmaceuticals and batteries to join Moon, as well as those with imminent business dealings with the US.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who is also the chief of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will be taking part in the delegation. SK Group has several affiliates with a keen interest in the issues to be discussed at the summit, such as semiconductor producer SK hynix, battery maker SK Innovation and SK Bioscience. SK Innovation is currently building two battery manufacturing plants in the US state of Georgia and has plans to build two more.
There, Chey is expected to encourage business cooperation between Korea and the US, and also to discuss his company’s battery and bio businesses with the US officials.
From LG Energy Solution, Chief Executive Officer Kim Jong-hyun is expected to participate in the delegation. LG Energy Solution is working with American automaker General Motors to build a $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Tennessee, and the company also plans to invest an additional 5 trillion won ($4.43 billion) in the US.
As for Samsung Electronics, which is considering building a new chip manufacturing facility in the US in addition to its foundry factory in Texas, Kim Ki-nam, the co-vice chairman of the conglomerate, or Choi Si-young, who is in charge of the company’s chipmaking business, may attend.
For Moon’s first US summit trip in May 2017, when he met with then-US President Donald Trump, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry formed a delegation of 52 business leaders, including the four major conglomerate chiefs.
Chiefs of other conglomerates that do not have direct business ties or pressing matters with the US, such as Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, and heads of other economic organizations reportedly will not take part.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com