Seoul has confirmed it is in direct talks with China aimed at patching up a trade row that led Beijing to slap sanctions on the use of South Korean batteries.
As BBB reported last week, signs that the two countries were attempting to bury the batteries hatchet emerged as South Korean and Chinese firms formed two joint ventures to produce lithium-ion battery materials from bases in China.
Now BBB has confirmed South Korea’s deputy prime minister, Kim Dong-yeon, has used a revived round of bilateral economic cooperation talks in Beijing to seek “an easing of conditions related to China’s electric vehicle battery subsidies”.
South Korea’s International Economic Affairs Bureau gave no details of the discussions with officials at China’s National Development and Reform Commission, held this month.
However, the bureau revealed that Kim had also met representatives from Korean companies operating in China— to discuss “the difficulties in doing business in China as well as ways to improve them”.
Last September, South Korea’s government backed plans by the country’s battery giants to inject a total of KRW2.3 trillion ($2.3 billion) into the sector over the next three years, to expand production and challenge China’s increasing dominance of the market.
The move, led by battery giants LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation Companies was in response to Chinese sanctions the firms say effectively block the use of South Korean batteries in electric vehicles in China.