Moon says EV battery settlement ‘very meaningful’

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in yesterday welcomed a decision by two South Korean electric vehicle battery makers to settle a long-running intellectual property dispute that had threatened thousands of American jobs and United States (US) President Joe Biden’s environmental policies.

In agreeing to pay USD1.8 billion to LG Energy Solution over stolen trade secrets, SK Innovation can now move ahead with plans to manufacture batteries in Georgia for electrically powered Ford pickup trucks and Volkswagen SUVs.

In a series of tweets, Moon said the companies’ last-minute settlement on Sunday was “fortunate” and “very meaningful” and would help stabilise global supply chains in a fast-moving industry that’s experiencing growing pains.

South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in a press release called for “stronger cooperation and solidarity” between South Korean battery companies which should now focus on “preparing for the future in face of intense global competition.”

The agreement between the companies averted an intervention by Biden in a case closely watched for its implications for his clean-energy agenda, which includes drastically increasing use of electric vehicles to help address climate change.

LG Electronics Inc in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP

Biden had until Sunday night to decide whether to step in, following a February ruling by a trade commission.

He called the agreement a “win for American workers and the American auto industry.”

In a regulatory filing to South Korean financial authorities, SK Innovation said it will provide LG Energy a lump-sum payment of USD888 million and the same maximum amount in royalties.

The companies also agreed to withdraw all pending trade disputes in the US and South Korea and not assert new claims for 10 years.