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South Korea EV battery makers reach settlement in US trade dispute

An import ban on SK Innovation was due to take effect Sunday

SK Innovation Co logo seen Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

South Korean electric-vehicle battery makers SK Innovation and LG Energy Solution have reached a settlment in a US trade dispute, Bloomberg reported. Under the terms of the agreement, SK will pay $1.8 billion (2 trillion won) in cash and royalties to LG.

In a joint statement the companies said they would “work to help the development of EV battery industry in South Korea and the US. through healthy competition and friendly cooperation,” adding that they would “work together to strengthen the battery network and environmentally-friendly policy that the Biden administration is pursuing.”

In February, the US International Trade Commission imposed a 10-year import ban on SK Innovation— due to take effect Sunday— following allegations it illegally obtained technology from rival LG.

The settlement will prevent an import ban on SK Innovation batteries into the US, which would have been problematic for the Biden administration. Ford and Volkswagen both are slated to start production on electric vehicles next year, using batteries made at SK’s plant in Georgia.

“This settlement agreement is a win for American workers and the American auto industry,” President Biden said in a statement Sunday. “A key part of my plan to Build Back Better is to have the electric vehicles and batteries of the future built here in America, all across America, by American workers. We need a strong, diversified and resilient US-based electric vehicle battery supply chain, so we can supply the growing global demand for these vehicles and components.”