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S. Korea, China to hold industrial ministerial meeting next week

2018/05/16 15:16

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SEOUL, May 16 (Yonhap) -- Industrial ministers of South Korea and China will meet in Seoul next week to discuss ways to expand economic cooperation and trade between the two nations, Seoul's trade ministry said Wednesday.

Miao Wei, Chinese minister of industry, information and technology, will visit Seoul on May 24 to hold a meeting with Paik Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, to talk about the latest trade and investment issues.

Seoul will bring up Beijing's policy stance of excluding electric vehicles equipped with South Korean batteries from its subsidies list, a senior ministry official with knowledge of the matter said. This is a critical issue for local lithium-ion battery manufacturers, such as Samsung SDI Co. and LG Chem Ltd.

Last year, the Chinese industry ministry announced a list of eco-friendly car models eligible for subsidies, but ruled out models using batteries from Samsung SDI and LG Chem.

"We hope to make progress in the battery subsidy issue, but it will be hard to completely resolve it at the upcoming meeting," the ministry official said.

Given the two firms' battery production capacity and global competitiveness, industry watchers viewed the decision as a thinly veiled retaliation against Seoul's deployment of an American missile defense system on its soil in March 2017.

In 2015, LG Chem built a battery plant capable of supplying batteries for 100,000 electric vehicles in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. In the same year, Samsung SDI built a plant in Xian, central China, that can provide batteries for 150,000 electric vehicles.

A model displays an electric vehicle battery at Samsung SDI Co.'s booth at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show on Sept. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the Korean battery maker. (Yonhap) A model displays an electric vehicle battery at Samsung SDI Co.'s booth at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show on Sept. 12, 2017, in this photo provided by the Korean battery maker. (Yonhap)

ejkim@yna.co.kr

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