Monday, 10 December, 2018

Trade Minister: S. Korea-US FTA Talks Affect GM Korea's Biz

Moon Jae-in says General Motors factory shutdown will be a blow to regional economy South Korean President Moon Jae-in
Doris Mccormick | 21 February, 2018, 06:57

The move comes after the local unit of USA automaker General Motors made a decision to shut down its automobile plant in the port city located some 270 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

But the automaker's decision to exit other unprofitable markets have exacerbated problems for GM Korea, which used to build numerous Chevrolet models GM once offered in Europe.

Later in the day, a top Cheong Wa Dae official revealed that Moon considers disparity in South Korean and US regulations with regards to the Korea-US FTA unfair.

Barry Engle, executive vice president at GM, said it plans to maintain its ailing Korean unit, but remained vague on whether that depends on support from the government.

The official with direct knowledge of the matter added that the US auto maker had requested South Korea to inject funds into GM Korea, in which the country's state bank also holds a stake.

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South Korea said the U.S. Commerce Department improperly applied "adverse facts available" from Korean producers and exporters in six anti-dumping and countervailing cases involving various Korean products, according to a document that was circulated on Tuesday.

He also said it was possible for two new models to be allocated to the Bupyeong and Changwon factories but did not specify whether the assignment would depend on the South Korean government's support.

The KDB will appoint an outside auditor to look into GM Korea's financial statements to see what led to an accumulated loss of 2.5 trillion won ($2.3 billion) over the past four years.

"If the company unveils a concrete plan on new models and export volume, the labor union is ready to yield", said Lim Han-taek, chief of GM Korea's labor union, at a press conference held in Yeouido in western Seoul Tuesday.

South Korea's presidential office also said Tuesday that it would designate Gunsan an employment "crisis zone", opening the way for government subsidies like cheap loans and other financial support for those laid off.

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