Korea, Canada strengthen business ties during Yoon’s visit

LG Energy Solution inks battery materials supply deal with 3 Canadian firms

By Park Jae-hyuk

Korean companies agreed with their Canadian partners to enhance cooperation ahead of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Friday (local time).

LG Energy Solution (LGES) signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) in Toronto, Thursday, with three Canadian mineral suppliers ― Electra, Avalon and Snow Lake ― to source core raw materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, such as cobalt sulfate and lithium hydroxide.

The Korean EV battery maker said it expects the latest partnerships to enable the company to better cope with the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that will force EV manufacturers to use batteries made with a certain proportion of core minerals sourced from North America or countries that signed free trade agreements with the U.S.

“As we have recently announced our medium to long-term strategy to focus on North America, the fastest-growing EV market, these partnerships serve as a crucial step towards securing a stable supply chain of key raw materials in the region,” LGES CEO Kwon Young-soo said. “By constantly investing in upstream suppliers and establishing strategic partnerships with major suppliers of critical minerals, LGES will continue to ensure the steady delivery of our top-quality products, thereby further advancing the global transition to EVs and ultimately to a sustainable future.”

The state-run Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corp. also signed an MOU that day with Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian government’s department responsible for natural resources and energy, to share information and technologies.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang, who participated in the four MOU signing ceremonies, said the two governments will discuss how their businesses can cooperate to expand investments for the supply of core minerals.

Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) Vice Chairman Kwon Tae-shin and Business Council of Canada (BCC) President Goldy Hyder signed an MOU at Thursday’s Canada-Korea Forum in Toronto. The two institutions agreed to hold the first Korea-Canada CEO Dialogue event in Seoul next year to strengthen ties between their private sectors.

KT, a Korean telecommunication firm, signed a partnership in Toronto, Thursday, with Canadian artificial intelligence (AI) research organization, called the Vector Institute, to seek cooperation in the research and development of AI technologies. Representatives from the two institutions also participated in a meeting between Korean and Canadian AI experts at the University of Toronto, which Yoon also attended to introduce his administration’s plan to innovate government organizations.

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