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Yoon nudges Musk for Korea investment

By Choi Si-young

Published : April 27, 2023 - 16:06

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk shake hands before talks at Blair House, across the street from the White House, in Washington on Wednesday. (Joint Press Corps) President Yoon Suk Yeol (right) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk shake hands before talks at Blair House, across the street from the White House, in Washington on Wednesday. (Joint Press Corps)

President Yoon Suk Yeol asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk to expand investment in South Korea, “an ideal place” for such high-tech investments, at a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of a summit with his US counterpart in Washington this week.

“Korea has the world’s best robots and an unmatched talent pool,” Yoon said in a statement Wednesday released by his office. “Korea is the country where Tesla will see the highest level of efficiency needed to run gigafactories,” Yoon added.

The president was referring to plants producing batteries for electric vehicles. China, Germany and Mexico are the only countries that have such Tesla factories outside of the US. Korea will offer human capital and tax breaks for a new gigafactory in Seoul, according to Yoon.

Musk did not immediately reveal any such plans, saying however that Korea is one of the top candidates. A trip to Korea will take place soon, he added.

The meeting, held at Musk’s request, also discussed SpaceX, a private spacecraft maker and launcher founded by the billionaire. Yoon highlighted greater roles Korean companies can play for the company’s new venture. The previous day, Yoon said Seoul and Washington will deepen space ties during a visit to NASA, the main US agency for space exploration.