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Australia calls for S. Korea's cooperation on hydrogen economy

19:12 March 12, 2019

SEJONG, March 12 (Yonhap) -- The top Australian envoy to South Korea on Tuesday called for close cooperation on building up the hydrogen economy, the finance ministry said.

James Choi made the comments in a meeting with Lee Ho-seung, the first vice minister of economy and finance, in central Seoul.

Canberra has been pushing for a project to produce hydrogen from Australian brown coal for export to Japan.

South Korea has been seeking to boost the hydrogen economy as a new growth engine.

In February, South Korea said it will allow Hyundai Motor Co. to set up a hydrogen charging station in parliament as well as two other hydrogen charging stations in southern Seoul for fuel cell electric vehicles.

In January, South Korea said it will increase the number of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles to about 80,000 units by 2022 as part of a broader effort to give a boost to the hydrogen economy.

A hydrogen fuel cell electric car only releases water vapor as it converts stored hydrogen into electricity to turn the drive motor.

Global carmakers have been racing to go eco-friendly amid tightened regulations on emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.

Also Tuesday, Choi said Australia welcomes South Korea's participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, given South Korea's economic clout, according to the ministry.

The Pacific trade pact -- which went in effect in December -- aims to slash tariffs on goods to stimulate trade among Japan, Canada and nine other countries.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, has said South Korea will hold preliminary unofficial talks with major countries of the Pacific trade pact to better cope with uncertainties in global trade, though he said discussions do not necessarily mean the country will join the open trade agreement.

South Korea has clinched a series of free trade deals with major trading partners, including the United States, the European Union and China, as well as Chile, Peru and Colombia, in recent years as part of its efforts to boost growth in the country's export-driven economy.

Lee Ho-seung (L), the first vice minister of economy and finance, shakes hands with James Choi, the top Australian envoy to South Korea, at a building in central Seoul on March 12, 2019. This photo was provided by the ministry. (Yonhap)



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