President Yoon Enhances Semiconductor, Electric Vehicle, Battery Supply Chains, Green Hydrogen at NATO

President yoon enhances semiconductor, electric vehicle, battery supply chains, green hydrogen at NATO.

President Yoon Suk-yeol attended a series of bilateral meetings with 13 national leaders during the NATO summit held in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11 and 12 (local time). The discussions aimed to strengthen the supply chains of advanced industries such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, and energy and to secure new export markets, outlining a comprehensive “sales diplomacy” strategy.

President Yoon made a strong request to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands for investment in a South Korean factory by ASML, the world’s leading semiconductor lithography equipment company based in the Netherlands. He also agreed to strengthen the electric vehicle and battery supply chains with Sweden, Portugal, and Finland, countries known for their rich reserves of key minerals such as rare earths, lithium, and nickel.

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Presidential Chief Economic Adviser Choi Sang-mok held a briefing at the press center set up in Vilnius, Lithuania, where the NATO Summit is taking place on July 12 (local time). He highlighted President Yoon’s economic cooperation achievements, stating that “President Yoon will discuss ways to strengthen economic cooperation in separate bilateral meetings with the leaders of 13 countries, even amid his busy schedule.”

On July 11, President Yoon had bilateral meetings with the leaders of seven countries – Norway, Portugal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Hungary, Romania, and Sweden. On July 12, he is slated to explore practical cooperation measures in a relay meeting with the leaders of six more countries – the U.K., Estonia, Slovakia, Japan, Finland, and Lithuania.

During his luncheon meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte the previous day, President Yoon proposed attracting the ASML’s Deep Ultraviolet (DUV) lithography equipment manufacturing plant to South Korea. He promised tangible investment incentives including financial support, tax deductions, and site support, thus requesting ASML’s investment in his country. ASML, based in the Netherlands, is the world’s leading semiconductor lithography equipment company and is currently considering setting up a new lithography equipment manufacturing plant in Asia.

Furthermore, President Yoon is scheduled to bring up “measures to strengthen the electric vehicle and battery supply chains” through a South Korea-Finland summit following the South Korea-Sweden and South Korea-Portugal summits. The upcoming South Korea-Lithuania summit will table “advanced semiconductor supply chain cooperation measures” as one of the main agenda items.

Sang-mok Choi, Senior secretary stated:

Currently, LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI, and SK on, the three major battery companies from our country, have entered Poland and Hungary and are playing a crucial role in the heart of the European electric vehicle industry.

And that “President Yoon is expected to discuss ways to strengthen the supply chain in a summit meeting with Slovakia, where Kia Motors is pushing for electric vehicle production.”

President Yoon actively pursued ‘nuclear power plant, defense, and infrastructure sales’ targeting the leaders of the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Sweden, and Romania, including the Ukraine reconstruction project, also known as “the second Marshall Plan,” which is estimated to be around 1.200 quadrillion won (US$940 billion) in total business scale.

Choi said, “President Yoon explained the excellence of Korean nuclear power plants to the leaders of the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, and Sweden, who have plans to introduce new nuclear power plants, and proposed cooperation in nuclear power,” and added, “A proposal for nuclear power cooperation is expected in the summit meetings with the U.K. and Slovakia, who also have plans to introduce new nuclear power plants, scheduled for today.”

In particular, Choi added, “In Romania, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power recently won a tritium removal facility project at the Cernavodă nuclear power plant worth 260 billion won. We requested positive consideration for the participation of our companies in the future nuclear facility improvement project, which is worth 2.5 trillion won.”

Choi also said, “President Yoon promoted the Korean-style Small Modular Reactor (SMR) under development to the leaders of Hungary, Romania, and Sweden, who are planning to introduce SMRs, and asked for interest and support,” and added, “We expect to discuss cooperation related to the disposal site with Finland, which is preparing to operate the ‘High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Site’ for the first time in the world.”

During the South Korea-Romania summit the previous day, President Yoon suggested to President Klaus Werner Iohannis the participation of Korean companies, including the Busan Port Authority, in the CONSTANTZA PORT DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, the largest port in the Black Sea, and received a positive response.

Choi also stated, “Due to Russia’s invasion, the Port of Odessa in Ukraine is under blockade, and the Port of Constanta in Romania has emerged as a key logistics base connecting Central and Eastern Europe with the Black Sea. We will concentrate on managing this project through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and other departments, and will support its progress into tangible outcomes.”

President Yoon is planning an official visit to Poland from July 12 to 14, local time, to actively support Korean companies’ overseas advancement, including the Ukraine Reconstruction Project. An economic delegation of 89 members, including Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG; Kim Dong-kwan, vice chairman of Hanhwa; and Koo Ja-yeon, chairman of LS, will accompany him on his visit seeking business opportunities.

Choi said, “In Poland, which will serve as a hub for the reconstruction of Ukraine, we will discuss concrete plans for our companies to expand through discussions with heads of state and meetings with our companies. Not only construction companies but also IT companies leading smart city construction and the Export-Import Bank, which can support financing like EDCF, will participate.”

In addition to this, President Yoon proposed to each European leader the expansion of complementary cooperation that combines Norway’s green hydrogen infrastructure and Korea’s hydrogen car utilization technology, strengthening green cooperation including carbon capture and storage technology, with Equinor, a Norwegian state-owned energy company, and the expansion of cooperation with Korea in EUREKA, a European advanced technology joint R&D platform.

Choi said, “President Yoon intends to strengthen the supply network of core minerals and rare metals in the field of advanced industry with countries that share universal values. We will make every effort to ensure that the cooperative agendas discussed at the bilateral summits held on the occasion of this NATO summit can be turned into tangible outcomes through Team Korea activities in which related ministries and companies participate.”

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President Yoon Enhances Semiconductor, Electric Vehicle, Battery Supply Chains at NATO, July 12, 2023

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