A ruling by the US International Trade Commission could have thrown a wrench into play Ford Motor Company‘s (NYSE: F.) plan to launch an electric F-150 pickup next year.
The International Trade Commission upheld an earlier judgment against the Korean battery maker on Wednesday SK innovationwho was accused by rivals LG Chem (OTC: LGCEY) of trade secret theft related to the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. The commission ruled that SK Innovation is banned from importing its batteries to the US for 10 years.
SK Innovation is building two factories in Georgia, around Ford and Ford Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) with batteries for upcoming electric vehicles (EVs), including the F-150 and a US-made version of VW’s ID.4 electric SUV. The fate of these factories is now in the air.
The Biden government, which is pushing for more electric vehicle adoption and US manufacturing of electric vehicle components, has the power to intervene and can do so. The White House has 60 days to review the ruling and may change or override the commission’s decision, although such changes are rare.
The ruling allows SK Innovation to import equipment required to manufacture batteries for Ford and Volkswagen for four and two years, respectively, in order to give automakers time to find another battery supplier.
It is possible that the dispute could be resolved without White House intervention. A battery unit officer at LG Chem told Automotive news that he expects SK Innovation to resume the settlement talks that were suspended during the pending appeal last year.
LG Chem supplies batteries to competing automakers, including General Motors (NYSE: GM).
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