US Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Jose Fernandez (on the left) speaks with South Korea's Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Do-hoon at the Department of State in Washington on 2022,Dec. 12, in this file photo (Seoul foreign ministry)
Jose Fernandez, the U.S. under secretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, arrived in South Korea on Monday for consultations on a range of bilateral economic issues.
Fernandez is the first senior U.S. official to visit Seoul this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the South Korea-U.S. alliance.
He plans to meet Lee Do-hoon, Seoul‘s second vice foreign minister, on Tuesday to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation.
The two sides are expected to discuss economic security issues, such as strengthening supply chain resilience, as well the easing of discriminatory provisions for Korean-made electric vehicles in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). They plan to hold a joint press conference following their meeting.
The IRA, signed into law by U.S. President Joe Biden in August, gives up to US$7,500 in tax credits to buyers of electric vehicles assembled only in North America, sparking concerns that Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. could lose ground in the U.S. market.
At the 7th Senior Economic Dialogue last month, Lee and Fernandez signed a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to continue constructive discussions to address Seoul’s concerns on the impact of the IRA.
During his trip, Fernandez will also meet officials from U.S. and South Korean companies, and hold a roundtable on women in business with the American Chamber of Commerce. (Yonhap)