Georgia governor urges Biden to overturn EV battery trade ruling against SK Innovation

by John Shepherd
Governor Brian Kemp. Photo: Governor's office
The governor of the US state of Georgia is urging President Joe Biden to overturn a ruling prohibiting imports of some lithium-ion batteries from South Korea’s SK Innovation (SKI).

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued the limited 10-year exclusion order on some SKI imports last week, after siding with Korean batteries peer, LG Chem, in a case brought to the ITC alleging the misappropriation of trade secrets related to electric vehicle battery technology.

But Governor Brian Kemp has warned that the long-term prospects of SKI’s $2.6bn (£1.9bn) SK Battery America EV battery production facility in Georgia, "would be harmed significantly” if the order stands.

Following the order, there is a 60-day window for presidential review – during which time the Biden administration may overturn the findings that would affect SK, along with its customers, Ford and Volkswagen, Kemp said.

'Investments in peril'

"Litigation in these disputes is always complex, and there are several additional levels of review prior to a final resolution – along with the possibility of a settlement.” Kemp said.

But the governor added: "Unfortunately, the ITC’s recent ruling puts SK’s significant investment in 2,600 clean energy jobs and innovative manufacturing in peril during a pandemic that has created unprecedented challenges and hardship for countless families here in Georgia, and across the country.”

The ITC has allowed the continued import by SKI of components for domestic production of lithium-ion batteries and other parts for Ford’s EV F-150 programme for four years, and for Volkswagen of America’s MEB electric vehicle line for the North America region for two years.

A SKI spokesperson said the group was "closely analysing” the ITC’s decision. SKI indicated it could, "under reasonable conditions”, start talks to try and resolve the dispute with LG Chem during the period allowed for review of the ITC’s order.

LG Chem had not responded to World Battery News’ request for comment as this article was published.

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