LG Energy Solution suggests building electric vehicle battery plant in Georgia

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution has suggested it could build a plant in the US state of Georgia to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, an LG Energy Solution official said on Saturday.

In a letter to US Senator Raphael Warnock, LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Jong-hyun said “the company is ready to do whatever we can to help the people and workers of Georgia,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

LG Energy Solution, the wholly owned battery division of LG Chem, confirmed that the company recently sent the letter to the senator, but declined to confirm details.

Kim also said in the letter that if an outside investor acquires a separate plant from SK Innovation in Georgia, LG could partner with them to manage the facility, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“(The letter) was intended to provide a clear response to the current situation caused by SK’s hijacking of our trade secrets as well as to alleviate concerns about jobs in Georgia,” an LG Energy Solution official said in a statement to Reuters. .

An SK Innovation official rejected the idea of ​​LG taking over his factory.

“LG’s statement regarding the acquisition of the plant makes no sense, as automakers do not allow contracts and suppliers to change separately. That being said, it is unreasonable for LG to say that ‘he could take over the factory and replace us,’ he added. official told Reuters.

LG’s letter came as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Friday reiterated his call on US President Joe Biden to overturn the US International Trade Commission (ITC) decision against SK Innovation in order to save thousands of dollars. jobs in the state directly related to the SK battery plant. .

LG Energy Solution is in dispute with SK Innovation over allegations that SK stole trade secrets. The ITC sided with LG Chem in February and issued a 10-year order banning most US imports of SK lithium-ion batteries.

SK Innovation lobbied the White House to reverse the decision, which could also be overturned if SK and LG reach an independent settlement.

LG on Thursday announced plans to invest more than $ 4.5 billion in its battery production business in the United States over the next four years, including plans to build at least two new factories.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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