Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp requested US President Joe Biden to reconsider the ruling against South Korean energy company SK Innovation. This February, the International Trade Commission (ITC) released a 10-year exclusion order that bans SK Innovation from importing lithium-ion batteries to the US. Under the ruling, SK Innovation would still supply lithium-ion battery manufacturing components to the Ford F-150 for four years. Moreover, the ITC order allows SK Innovation to provide EV battery components to Volkswagen Group of America for two years.
After the ITC issued the order, Governor Kemp said, “the ITC’s recent ruling puts SK’s significant investment in 2,600 clean energy jobs and innovative manufacturing in peril.” Currently, SK Innovation is establishing production facilities in Georgia for electric vehicle batteries and components. Due to Georgia’s 2.2 trillion won ($2 billion)-investment, the partially constructed EV battery facilities have a capacity of 21.5 GWh per year.
Besides the Georgia plants, the ITC import ban also affects the US EV operations of Ford and Volkswagen. Both companies have partnered with SK Innovation to acquire lithium-ion batteries from the Georgia production facilities’ eventual establishment. However, the import ban puts the automobile companies’ long-term hybrid and EV transition plans at risk. In response to Kemp’s statement, LG Energy Solution’s Song Jung said they plan to collaborate with the Georgia governor. According to Song, LG Energy intends to provide aid for the Georgia plant and the workers.
SK and LG Electric Vehicle Battery Dispute
LG Energy Solutions, the battery-manufacturing unit of LG Chem, filed a case against SK Innovation for illegally obtaining battery technology. The battery lawsuit between the two South Korean companies greatly influences Biden’s plans involving employment, climate change, and advanced technology. Additionally, SK Innovation said that the import ban could negatively impact Biden’s automobile electrification to cut greenhouse gas emissions. With a review period of 60 days, Biden can reconsider and override ITC’s order.
“We look forward to having detailed discussions with Biden administration officials charged with reviewing the ITC’s ruling and carrying out the President’s policies related to electric vehicles and the environment,” said SK Innovation. LG Energy announced they are willing to conclude the intellectual property dispute by having SK Innovation pay compensations.
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