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South Korean conglomerates plan to invest $39.4 billion in U.S.

By
Kim Hye-ran, UPI News Korea
President Joe Biden (L) speaks while South Korea President Moon Jae-in listens during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Erin Scott/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, May 25 (UPI) -- Korean companies accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in on his visit to the United States have promised nearly $40 billion in U.S. investments in the coming years.

Some of Korea's major conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics - the world's No. 1 manufacturer of memory chips - and second-place SK hynix, disclosed the plans at a roundtable meeting ahead of Moon's summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday.

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Samsung Electronics is scheduled to channel $17 billion into foundry facilities in the United States, though the specific region has not been announced. SK hynix will invest $1 billion to set up a research center on artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley.

Automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia will together invest $7.4 billion by 2025 in next-generation technologies such as electric cars, robotics and autonomous vehicles.

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Korean chemical giants LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation are set to funnel about $14 billion in total to build facilities for electric-vehicle batteries.

Recently, LG Energy Solution announced its investment partnership with General Motors, while SK Innovation decided to join hands with Ford in the electric vehicle sector.

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Moon Jae-in took part in the roundtable meeting, along with Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won.

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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo headed the U.S. side, which included executives from Qualcomm and Novavax.

In a joint press conference after the summit, Biden asked representatives of potential investors to stand.

"I'm particularly gratified that so many leading South Korean companies see the benefit of investing in the United States," Biden said.

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"These new investments are going to create thousands of good-paying jobs and jobs of the future right here in the United States. And they're going to help fortify and secure the supply chains for things like semiconductors and electric batteries," he said.

The Biden administration recently proposed to subsidize up to $50 billion in chip production.

"In the economy's hegemonic rivalry between the U.S. and China, stable supply chains for semiconductors and electric vehicles are crucial. Our companies' investments show that we are siding with the U.S.," Seoul National University economics Professor Lee Phil-sang told UPI News Korea.

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