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EU biz lobby urges Korea to ease EV battery safety rules

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Officials from the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) pose during a press conference held to share its 2023 White Paper in Seoul, Thursday. They include ECCK President Christoph Heider, center, ECCK Chairperson Philippe Van Hoof, third from left and ECCK Passenger Vehicles Committee Chairperson Andrew Hongjoong Kim, second from right. Courtesy of ECCK

2023 White Paper published by ECCK
By Lee Min-hyung

A business lobby group representing European firms here urged the Korean government to ease rules on the nation's electric vehicle (EV) battery safety certification, as it may be a trade barrier to global automakers, the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ECCK) said Thursday.

According to Andrew Hongjoong Kim, a chairperson at ECCK's passenger vehicles committee, the government needs to take a more flexible approach to accepting safety requirements from European automakers when they have received United Nations (UN) regulation-type approvals there.

"We recommend that European automobile manufacturers who have obtained the UN regulation-type approval in Europe should be recognized as satisfying the requirements of the battery safety certification system in Korea," he said. "And specification and details need to be clearly stated in the relevant law and regulations, which will prevent any potential trade barriers.

The call came in response to Korea's recent law amendment regarding pre-certifications of EV batteries. The UN official argued that EV safety certifications should be granted to European automakers here if they won the UN R100 electric power train safety requirement.

The message was included in the ECCK 2023 White Paper released on Thursday. The ECCK called on the Korean government to relax some 100 regulations from 17 industries, including automobiles, food, chemistry and healthcare, in the annual paper published since 2015. A group of 400 Europe-headquartered companies operating business here are members of the ECCK.

Ranking officials from the ECCK also discussed other critical issues during a press conference after publishing the paper.

ECCK's environment committee urged the government to help swiftly pass a law on wind power promotion, as it is crucial for Korea's path to becoming a carbon-neutral nation.

"The offshore wind power industry is expected to become a new growth engine for Korea with trillions of won in capital and technology invested in it," Moon Go-young, a chairperson at the ECCK's energy & environment committee said. "It is expected to make a significant contribution to achieving the national and global goal of becoming carbon neutral at a time when economic vitality is needed."

The official also underscored a dire need for the government to remain more active in its institutional role in the area.

"In order to promote faster and more predictable offshore wind power projects, institutional measures, such as a unified licensing process, clear resident consent and resident participation guidelines, the government's active role in grid connectivity and advance notice of the wind power bids here every year are essential. In particular, I hope that the Wind Power Promotion Act, which is being reviewed by the National Assembly, will be passed quickly."

An office of foreign investment ombudsman at the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency discussed 96 issues raised from the ECCK 2022 White Paper with relevant ministries who reviewed around 40 percent positively.

Lee Min-hyung


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