ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia’s governor wants President Joe Biden to override a federal decision that could endanger the future of a giant battery factory in the northeastern part of the state.
Governor Brian Kemp called on Biden on Friday to review a ruling against SK Innovation, which is building a $ 2.6 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Commerce, which the company has announced will add 2,600 employees employ.
The US International Trade Commission ruled Wednesday that SK Innovation, a South Korean company, had stolen 22 trade secrets from competitor LG Energy Solution and that the company should be banned from importing, manufacturing or selling batteries in the US for 10 years. LG Energy Solution is a unit of another South Korean company.
SK has contracts to supply batteries for an electric Ford F-150 and an electric Volkswagen SUV to be manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The commission said SK could supply batteries to Ford Motor Co. for four years and Volkswagen for two years, saying it had adjusted its order so that these customers would not be disturbed. SK can also repair and replace batteries in Kia vehicles that have already been sold.
Biden has 60 days to review or block the judgment.
“President Biden and his administration also have the opportunity to support thousands of hardworking Georgians – and their communities – who would benefit from the continued success of SK Innovation in our state,” Republican Kemp said in a statement Friday that included the Congress delegation of Georgia was asked to step in.
LG accused SK of hiring dozens of employees to steal battery technology, and an administrative judge ruled in LG’s favor last year. The US International Trade Commission upheld the ruling on Wednesday.
SK’s “complete disregard for our warnings and intellectual property rights gave us no choice but to file this case,” said John Hyun Jim, CEO of LG Energy Solution. “We thank the International Trade Commission for protecting our innovations and significant economic investments in the United States.”
SK Innovation said it has “serious concerns about the commercial and operational implications of this decision for the future of our Commerce, Georgia EV battery facility.” The state gave $ 300 million in free land, cash, and other incentives to the factory, which is now partially built and set to open in 2022.
The company also said the setback could violate the Biden government’s goals of increasing electric vehicles to tackle CO2 emissions and climate change.
“We look forward to in-depth discussions with representatives of the Biden administration tasked with reviewing the ITC decision and implementing the president’s guidelines on electric vehicles and the environment,” said SK.
LG left open the possibility that SK could end the dispute by paying to license LG technology.
“We just want the facility not to use our technology. If you want to use the technology, come to us and pay legal compensation. We’d be happy to discuss a commercial solution for that,” LG solicitor Song Jung told The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Thursday.
LG makes batteries for electric vehicles at a factory in Detroit and has another plant under construction in Ohio.
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