Biden praises the contract with the South Korean battery manufacturer as a victory for the American electric vehicle drive


President Joe Biden during remarks on the U.S. work plan in the South Court auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on April 7, 2021.

Demetrius Freeman | The Washington Post | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Sunday proclaimed settlement between two Korean battery manufacturers the victory of American efforts to build a strong supply chain for electric vehicles to create clean energy jobs and curb them climate change.

Settlement over a trade secret dispute between LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co. will allow two factories in Georgia to move forward with plans to produce lithium-ion batteries for Ford i Volkswagen.

The companies have agreed to drop the lawsuit in the U.S. and South Korea and will not pursue further lawsuits for ten years. SK Innovation will also pay LG Energy Solution $ 1.8 billion in cash and royalties.

An agreement was reached before the deadline for the Biden administration on Sunday night to annul the decision of the US Commission on International Trade, unless the battery manufacturers reach a settlement.

The settlement is the main gain for the administration which recently presented a comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes spending $ 174 billion on strengthen the electric vehicle market and move away from the gasoline-powered car.

“We need a strong, diverse and resilient supply chain for US-based electric vehicles, so that we can supply the growing global demand for these vehicles and components – creating well-paid jobs here at home and laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s business,” Biden it is stated in the statement.

The president’s proposal includes installing at least 500,000 filling stations nationwide by 2030, incentives for Americans to buy electric vehicles and money to rebuild factories and boost domestic supplies of materials.

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Failure to resolve the dispute could cost thousands of jobs in Georgia and jeopardize the country’s electricity market, which accounts for approximately 2% of new car sales.

The ITC ruled in February that SK Innovation had stolen trade secrets related to EV batteries and ordered the U.S. to block the company from importing stock to build batteries.

SK Innovation threatens to leave its $ 2.6 billion plant in Georgia – which is under construction and could employ 2,600 workers – unless the ITC decision is revoked.

If no settlement was reached, the Biden administration may have had to cancel the ITC to allow SK Innovation to build the plant. Otherwise, Volkswagen and Ford would have to find new battery suppliers, which could delay the model’s release and thwart their ability to meet the escalating demand for electric vehicles.

“Today’s settlement is a positive step in that direction, which will bring some welcome relief to workers in Georgia and a new opportunity for workers across the country,” Biden said.

Jong Hyun Kim, CEO of LG Energy Solution and Jun Kim, CEO of SK Innovation, it was said in a joint statement that the companies will “compete in a friendly manner, all for the future of the American and South Korean electric vehicle battery industries.”

“We are committed to working together to support the Biden administration’s climate program and to develop a strong American supply chain,” they said.


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