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Asia Minute: Electric vehicles and batteries charging developments in trade and manufacturing

hyundai cars
David Zalubowski/AP
FILE - 2022 Santa Fe sports-utility vehicles sit outside a Hyundai dealership Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Littleton, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Electric vehicle makers in Asia are upset that U.S. tax breaks won’t apply to their products under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law two weeks ago.

But it’s also part of a broader set of developments in both trade and manufacturing.

A delegation of South Korean trade officials is in Washington this week.

The Foreign Ministry says they’re in town to “relay concerns” about the Inflation Reduction Act — and its exclusion of vehicles made outside of North America when it comes to tax breaks for consumers buying electric vehicles.

South Korean automakers in particular say that’s unfair.

The Yonhap News Agency says those companies are pointing out that earlier this year, they announced plans to invest more than $5 billion in the U.S. to manufacture electric vehicles and batteries.

Those pledges came during President Biden’s visit to Seoul in May.

Meanwhile, planning continues for an electric future — and not just with South Korean automakers.

On Monday, South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution announced a joint venture with Japanese automaker Honda to build a new battery plant in the United States.

LG Energy Solution will control 51% of the $4.4 billion joint venture — which will be the first factory project put together by a Korean battery maker and a Japanese automaker.

Nikkei Asia reports the plant’s location will be in Ohio — already home to the largest of Honda’s 12 factories in North America.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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