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The Peninsula

What Happened this Quarter: Q3 2023

Published October 13, 2023
Author: Tom Ramage
Category: South Korea

Investment Announcements

July 24, 2023: Samsung SDI announced plans to establish a second EV battery manufacturing “Gigafactory” facility as part of their StarPlus Energy joint venture with Stellantis.

September 27, 2023: Samsung SDI announced it will inject $1.98 billion as part of its investment into a battery factory, reportedly near Kokomo, IN where its gigafactory is already under construction, set to launch in Q1 2025.

The announced EV battery plant has an expected start date for production in early 2027.  Groundbreaking is set for April 2024.

August 30, 2023: POSCO America announced moving its U.S. headquarters from Atlanta to Washington, DC.

August 31, 2023: Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution (LGES) announced an additional $2 billion into their $4.3 billion EV battery cell manufacturing joint venture in Bryan County, Georgia.

-Creates an additional 400 jobs to supplement the 8,500 jobs created for the region out of their $7.59 billion  investment in EV manufacturing.

September 5, 2023: CJ Group announced a $47 million investment into TOUS les JOURS bakery and food processing facility in Gainesville, GA.

-Creates an estimated 285 jobs in Hall County, GA.

Trade Diplomacy

July 9-15, 2023:  Fourth Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Negotiation Round – Busan, Korea

Korea hosted the fourth of the five total IPEF negotiating rounds, with the Korean delegation presided over by Deputy Minister for FTA Negotiations Keon-ki Roh. The fourteen countries in the IPEF are still holding ongoing negotiations. A draft supply chain agreement was released by the U.S. Department of Commerce on September 7, 2023 in advance of the fifth negotiating round held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The IPEF’s four key pillars are:
1. Trade
2. Supply Chain Resilience
3. Clean Economy
4.  Fair Economy

July 17-18, 2023: G20 Finance Ministers Meeting – Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Choo Kyung-ho met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the sidelines of the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. Topics discussed included economic security and supply chain issues. Choo was quoted to say that Korea will “continue to cooperate with the United States on sanctions against Russia.”

Minister Choo also met with Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun to discuss economic cooperation. It was the first in person meeting between the Korean and Chinese finance ministers in four years.

July 21, 2023: Korea returns to Japan’s “whitelist” for exports including fast-track trade status.

August 24, 2023: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Korean Trade Minister Dukgeun Ahn on the sideline of the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ meeting in Jaipur, India. Topics discussed included WTO reform and momentum towards IPEF.

August 24, 2023: Nikkei reports that the United States is expected to extend South Korean and Taiwanese semiconductor companies’ waivers to increase operations in China while receiving subsidies under the CHIPS act. The original one-year waiver was set to expire in October 2023.

August 25, 2023: Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) held a public hearing in Seoul on the prospect of signing Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Thailand, Pakistan, Serbia, and the Dominican Republic.

August 30, 2023: Korean Trade Minister Dukgeun Ahn met with Senator Todd Young (R), Indiana during the Senator’s visit to Korea to discuss economic security and bilateral ties. Issues brought up included Korean investments in Indiana, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Chips and Science Act, and semiconductor guardrails.

September 1, 2023: Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin agrees with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over phone call to move forward with trilateral cooperation with Japan. On September 10, Japan confirms their agreement to work towards trilateral summit.

September 4-11, 2023: Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen led trade mission to South Korea and Japan and discussed Korean investment in hydrogen energy projects and Korean imports of Nebraskan beef.

September 5, 2023: Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced a final agreement was reached for Guatemala to join the Korea-Central America Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

September 7, 2023: Korea signs a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines. Korea to remove tariffs on 94.8 percent of all items while the Philippines removes tariffs for 96.8 percent of items.

September 10-11, 2023: Bank of Korea Governor Chang-yong Rhee attends Bank for International Settlements (BIS) annual meetings in Basel, Switzerland.

September 10-16, 2023: Fifth Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Negotiating Round – Bangkok, Thailand. Critical minerals processing agreements, supply chain early warning systems, and expanding opportunities for workers throughout the IPEF markets are all facets of the ongoing negotiations.

September 13, 2023: Deputy Minister for Trade Jeong Dae-jin met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economics and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui in Seoul to discuss follow-up measures for the U.S.-Korea-Japan Summit, IRA, and CHIPS and Science Act among other topics.

September 21, 2023: Trade, Industry, and Energy Vice Minister Youngjin Jang and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves attend the U.S.-Korea Advanced Industry & Technology Cooperation Forum in Seoul. According to Reuters, Industry Minister Bang Moon-kyu met with Graves and sought “active cooperation” from the U.S. Department of Commerce to resolve issues relating to export controls. On October 9, Samsung and SK Hynix received waivers from the U.S. Commerce Department to continue their advanced equipment exports to China indefinitely.


Tom Ramage is an Economic Policy Analyst at the Korea Economic Institute of America. The views expressed here are the author’s alone.

Photo from Shutterstock

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