Earlier this year, following a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling, SK was about to be forbidden to make or sell batteries in the United States, after being accused of stealing trade secrets from LG Energy. All of this while SK had already signed big contracts with Ford and Volkswagen for battery supply and while it was building a new factory in Commerce, Georgia.
With the help of Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia, the two companies initiated negotiation proceedings and reached a settlement, with SK agreeing to pay LG Energy $1.8 billion, plus royalties. This amicable agreement allows SK, on one hand, to resume building the $2.6 billion battery factory in Georgia, and carmaker, on the other hand, to expand their electric vehicle strategy.
SK will supply batteries for Volkswagen’s electric SUV and for the electric Ford F-150 pickup truck. LG also announced plans to increase investments in the U.S. market and complete a second plant that it co-owns with GM.
With electric vehicles being an important part of the new American administration's recent infrastructure plan, this trade conflict had more serious implications than it might have seemed at first glance, and losing a well-known battery supplier for the EV industry was not something the current government was prepared to accept.