LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation have settled a long-running trade dispute, clearing the way for SK to proceed with construction of a battery factory in Commerce, Georgia that is slated to supply batteries to Ford and Volkswagen.
The International Trade Commission decided in February that SK stole 22 trade secrets from LG Energy, and that SK should be barred from importing, making or selling batteries in the US for 10 years. The decision could have left Ford and VW scrambling for batteries for their upcoming US-built EVs, which would have been bad news for President Biden’s clean-energy agenda. The agreement ended the need for the Biden administration to intervene in the case.
Under the settlement, SK will pay LG Energy a total of $1.8 billion and an undisclosed royalty. The two companies agreed to withdraw all pending trade disputes in the US and South Korea, and file no new claims for 10 years.
“We have decided to settle and to compete in an amicable way, all for the future of the US and South Korean electric vehicle battery industries,” said SK CEO Jun Kim and LG Energy CEO Jong Hyun Kim.
US politicians were pleased with the pronouncement. Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia said the settlement “has saved the battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, ensuring thousands of jobs, billions in future investment, and that Georgia will be a leader in electric vehicle battery production for years to come.”
President Joe Biden called the news “a win for American workers and the American auto industry. We need a strong, diversified and resilient US-based electric vehicle battery supply chain, so we can supply the growing global demand for these vehicles and components, creating good-paying jobs here at home and laying the groundwork for the jobs of tomorrow.”