SK Innovation has threatened to pull its entire battery business out of the United States after the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a limited 10-year exclusion order prohibiting the importation of SK’s lithium-ion batteries into the States.
This ruling was made following assertions from LG Energy Solution that its rival had misappropriated trade secrets. LG is demanding SK to pay it up to 3 trillion won ($2.26 billion). If the two companies come to a settlement, it would make the ITC’s ruling invalid. Not willing to budge, SK Innovation has now called on President Joe Biden to overturn the ITC’s decision by April 11 or else it could leave the U.S. market entirely.
“The company has been consulting with experts to discuss ways to withdraw our battery business from the United States,” a spokeswoman from SK Innovation told Reuters. “We are reviewing options to move our U.S. battery production to Europe or China, which would cost us tens of billions of won.”
SK Innovation added it will be forced to halt the construction of a $2.6 billion battery plant in Georgia if the Biden administration doesn’t overturn the ITC’s decision.
“The Commission’s orders destroy the economic viability of SK’s investment in battery production in Georgia and will rationally and inevitably lead to its abandonment,” the company said in a recent filing.
The ITC ruling does include some exemptions, allowing SK to import components for domestic production of batteries for the upcoming electric Ford F-150 for four years and for VW’s MEB electric vehicle line for two years. Evidently, this alone isn’t enough to convince SK to stick around in the U.S. market.