Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA)

InfluenceMap Score
for Climate Policy Engagement
Performance Band
Organization Score
South Korea

Climate Policy Engagement Overview: The Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) displays negative engagement with climate change regulations in South Korea, including the 2050 and 2030 emissions reduction targets. The association has also strongly opposed the European Union’s Fit-for-55 regulations on automotive vehicles and the South Korean government’s Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) policy. KAMA has generally had mixed engagement on the electrification of the transportation sector, while promoting the long-term role of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: The Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) has taken negative positions in its top-line messaging on climate policy. Emphasizing an abolishment or “reasonable adjustment”, the association opposed government regulations on climate change including GHG emissions reduction regulation and mandatory electric vehicles sales system. As reported by Seoul Economic Daily in October 2022, the Chairman of KAMA, Kang Nam-hoon, did not fully support the need for carbon neutrality regulations in Korea, stating that they would be a burden to automotive industry to achieve future vehicles transition. At the 27th Automobile Industry Development Forum in June 2022, KAMA appeared not to support the carbon neutrality policy, suggesting slowing down the carbon neutrality process. At the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d’Automobiles (OICA) General Assembly and Decarbonization Roundtable in November 2021, the Chairman of KAMA, Jung Man-ki, did not fully support the need for climate change regulations, urging policymakers to prioritize incentives over regulations for the automobile industry. In an interview with Sanupin News in January 2021, Chairman Jung did not fully support IPCC-recommended pathways for drastic emissions reductions, calling for a ‘pragmatic response’ and saying that ‘being completely carbon-neutral could be difficult’.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: The Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) has engaged highly negatively with strengthening the national GHG emissions reduction targets for South Korea’s NDC, and the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). In April 2022, the Chairman of KAMA, Jung Man-ki, opposed the 37% and 40% GHG emissions reduction target of the 2030 NDC, arguing that it would negatively affect production activities and employment. Also, in October 2021, the association signed a joint proposal to state its unsupportive position on strengthening the ambition of the 2030 NDC emissions reduction targets. The Chairman of KAMA, Jung Man-ki, appeared to not support the strengthened GHG emissions reduction targets in August 2021, stating that such a regulation could potentially cause negative impacts in the automobile sector.

Recently, however, KAMA supported the 2030 NDC emissions reduction targets in the transportation sector. In a March 2023 press release, the Chairman of KAMA, Kang Nam-hoon, strongly supported increasing the supply of electric vehicles (EV) and hydrogen vehicles to achieve the 2030 NDC GHG emissions reduction target in the transportation sector.

In addition, KAMA directly opposed the EU CBAM of the EU Fit-for-55 package, and wrote a letter to the European Commission and the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in August 2021, requesting South Korean automobile companies' exemption from the regulation. In this same letter, KAMA also opposed the EU’s higher CO2 targets for cars and vans. As reported by Maeil Ilbo in January 2021, Jung Man-ki also did not support strengthening CO2 emission regulations in the automotive sector in South Korea, citing concerns for the realities and profits of the automobile manufacturing industry.

Positioning on Energy Transition: The Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) has taken a negative position on the transition to a low-carbon energy mix in the transport sector. In an op-ed article of E-daily in August 2022, the Chairman of KAMA, Jung Man-ki, strongly opposed the ZEV policy, arguing that it would encourage importing EVs and “consequently disrupt the electric vehicle industry base” of South Korea. In an August 2021 letter to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MoTIE) of South Korea and the European Commission, KAMA directly opposed measures recommended in the EU Fit-for-55, including the EU CBAM and a 2035 effective ICE phase out date for cars and vans.

As reported by Yonhap News in November 2021, the association also appeared to not support increasing the proportion of EVs in automotive production in Korea, claiming that more EVs production could negatively affect employment in the automobile sector. However, in recent months, KAMA has supported tax credits and the expansion in government investments for EV facilities. In a February 2023 article by E-daily, KAMA appeared to support electrification of transport, calling for tax credits for investments in EVs manufacturing facilities. In a January 2023 press release, the KAMA Chairman, Kang Nam-hoon, supported government investments for EVs manufacturing facilities and incentives for electrification of transportation.

In January 2021, the Chairman of KAMA, Jung Man-ki, strongly opposed measures to eliminate ICE vehicles, stating that electric vehicles could emit more CO2 than diesel cars. As reported by the Hankyoreh in March 2022, Chairman Jung Man-ki did not support the regulation on new ICE vehicles registration by 2035, as pledged by President-elect Yoon Sok-yeol in his election campaign.

The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) changed its name to the Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) as of the 11th May 2023.

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