Logos of LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation. The two companies have been embroiled in legal disputes for two years, and SK Innovation hopes that the White House would intervene to veto the recent decision of the U.S. International Trade Commission. Photo courtesy of LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation

Georgia governor urges White House once again

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp asked U.S. President Joe Biden this week to overturn the International Trade Commission (ITC) verdict on Korea’s rechargeable battery maker SK Innovation.

In February, the U.S. trade panel ruled against SK Innovation, which is accused of misappropriating trade secrets of electric vehicle batteries from its cross-city rival LG Energy Solution.

If the White House does not intervene ahead of April 11 deadline, the governor is worried that SK Innovation might cancel its multi-billion-dollar investment in building battery facilities in Jackson County.

While ruling in favor of LG, the ITC banned SK from producing lithium-ion batteries in the United States for 10 years.

“The president now has yet another decision before him that will make or break a $2.6 billion investment in our state,” Gov. Kemp said. “The jobs of at least 2,600 Georgians depend on President Biden’s upcoming decision on the ITC ruling, and I sincerely hope he will use his authority to do the right thing.”

This is not the first time for Kemp to officially urge the president to disapprove the ITC verdict, as he did so twice in February and March.

Without the presidential action, Kemp worried that U.S. companies, including Ford Motor, will also be negatively affected because it is one of SK’s major customers.

SK confident of presidential action

Against this backdrop, SK showed its confidence on the intervention because it disclosed its discussions with producers of battery components.

In other words, the Seoul-based company is preparing to increase its battery production because it expects the action of the Biden administration.

On a negative note, however, presidential vetoes of ITC import bans have been rare.

“Before U.S. president makes the decision on whether or not to intervene, it is impossible for us to predict,” NH Investment & Securities researcher Ko Jung-woo said.