US should treat Hyundai, Toyota equally: AmCham

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : May 15, 2018 - 15:26
Updated : May 15, 2018 - 16:10

Representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea delivered a message to the US government that Korean automakers including Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors should have full benefits and support during its Doorknock meeting, according to the organization on Tuesday.

Doorknock is AmCham’s annual event where its delegation meets with the US administration and high-ranking officials to discuss trade and business issues between Korea and the US. This year, the delegation visited the US from April 15-19, attending more than 50 meetings. 

From left: Former AmCham Chairman David Ruch, incumbent Chairman & CEO James Kim and Jeffrey Jones, chairman of the board of governors, hold a press briefing in Seoul on Tuesday. (AmCham)


“Two executives from Hyundai Motor joined us to attend every meeting for Doorknock. We delivered that Hyundai is a company that has contributed significantly to the US economy, investment and job creation,” said James Kim, AmCham chairman and CEO, during a press meeting Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor joining the delegation is seen as a move to respond to growing trade pressure from the US on the Korean automobile industry, which has been singled out as a key factor for the US trade deficit. David Kim, vice president of government affairs in Hyundai Motor’s Washington office, accompanied the delegation.

AmCham said it delivered the message that Hyundai and Kia’s contribution to the US economy is not just in manufacturing automobiles sent to the US, but also the plants and production in the US that employ hundreds of thousands people through dealerships, parts, components and repair shops.

“We found the US government treat Toyota or Nissan as the US companies because they have huge production facilities in the US. We delivered the message that the US government should give Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors the same full benefits and supports (as the Japanese firms),” said Jeffrey Jones, chairman of board of governors at AmCham.

In February, Korea agreed with the US to maintain a 25 percent tariff for Korean-made trucks until 2041, which was meant to have been phased out from 2019. The revision makes it difficult for Hyundai to export its trucks, including the Santa Cruz and Creta, to the US despite growing demand for trucks and sport utility vehicles there. Hyundai is reportedly planning to expand its production in the US for the trucks.

AmCham, however, said it is not aware of any specific new investment from Hyundai Motor in the US.

The delegation met with key administrative figures, congressional members and think tank experts in the US, including Michael Beeman, assistant US trade representative and chief negotiator for the amendments to the trade deal between Korea and the US, Douglas Bell, deputy assistant secretary for trade and investment at the Department of the Treasury, and Mark Calabria, chief economist for US Vice President Mike Pence.

Last year, Hyundai had also accompanied the delegation and confirmed its investment plan of around $3.1 billion in the US for the following five years during the meetings with the US administration. This time, the automaker did not specify any new investment in the US, according to AmCham.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation