Battery-Making Rivals to Settle Trade Rift That Threatened Georgia Plant -- Update
By Ben Foldy
Korean battery-making rivals SK Innovation Co. and LG Chem Ltd.
have agreed to settle a trade-secret dispute that had threatened a
$2.6 billion factory SKI is building in Georgia set to supply Ford
Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG with electric-vehicle batteries,
according to people familiar with the matter.
That plant's future had been in doubt after the U.S.
International Trade Commission in February sanctioned SKI with a
10-year ban on importing batteries and the materials necessary to
make them after finding the company destroyed evidence relating to
The agreement between the battery makers hasn't yet been
finalized, the people said. A spokeswoman for SK Innovation
declined to comment.
The settlement comes just ahead of a Sunday deadline for the
Biden administration to potentially veto the trade commission's
decision. President Biden has made electric vehicles and the
batteries that power them a core component of his proposed $2.3
trillion infrastructure program. As part of that plan, he has
proposed investing $174 billion in spurring uptake of electric
The fate of the Georgia factory has major implications for Ford
and VW, which are counting on the new assembly complex to build
batteries for electric models such as Ford's F-150 pickup truck and
VW's ID.4 crossover. It is also important to the state, which swung
in favor of Mr. Biden in the last election and gave Democrats
control of the Senate.
SKI has said the plant under construction will create 2,600 new
jobs, and Gov. Brian Kemp has described the factory project as one
of the largest job-creation investments in the state's history.
Auto makers have prioritized securing a steady supply of the
batteries necessary for mass-producing electric vehicles. Locating
battery factories in the U.S. is a priority both for auto makers,
for whom shipping heavy batteries between continents is expensive,
and for the administration, which has said it sees them as
necessary for creating jobs and remaining globally competitive.
(More to Come)
Write to Ben Foldy at Ben.Foldy@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 10, 2021 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT)
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