The U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee has lambasted Ford for making offers with South Korean agency SK Innovation regardless of proof it hijacked LG Chem commerce secrets and techniques to develop batteries for electrical automobiles.
The sturdy criticism of the US automaker got here practically a month after ITC banned SKI from importing elements to make lithium-ion batteries for 10 years and gave Ford and Volkswagen a grace interval to discover a new provider.
Ford and VW each signed contracts to buy batteries at SKI’s new $ 2.6 billion battery plant within the U.S. state of Georgia and had been granted 4 and two yr grace durations. respectively. However the corporations argued that the ban would jeopardize their plans to transition to greener automobiles.
ITC reaffirmed its February ruling towards SKI for breach of commerce secrecy. “The Fee considers that SK’s destruction of proof on this case is extraordinary,” she mentioned in an announcement on Thursday. “The destruction was ordered to a excessive customary and was carried out by division heads throughout SK.”
He additionally mentioned SKI’s conduct demonstrated “gross dangerous religion” and questioned why Ford continued to enter into battery contracts with the corporate after “the misconduct on this investigation was uncovered”.
“The fault right here lies with SK, in addition to these like Ford who’ve intentionally chosen to proceed to have potential enterprise relationships primarily based on the misappropriation of SK commerce secrets and techniques,” ITC added.
The exemptions would permit Ford to market its all-electric F-150 truck by mid-2022, however the transfer threatens to disrupt the automaker’s long-term battery provide. The ITC rejected Ford’s request to increase the exemptions to its new unannounced electrical automobiles.
SKI mentioned on Friday that the ITC choice would weaken the competitiveness of U.S. electrical automobiles by limiting competitors and inflicting critical financial and environmental harm.
“It will endanger the nationwide safety of america by making us extra depending on Chinese language corporations on this quickly creating and critically essential subject,” SKI mentioned. “Happily, it’s completely on the discretion of the Biden administration to cancel it.”
SKI has mentioned it would ask Joe Biden to reverse the ban, a transfer the US president could make inside 60 days. SKI mentioned it has promised to rent 2,600 staff by 2024 at its plant in Georgia, which can be accomplished by 2022.
Home political stress is pressuring SKI and LG to pursue an out-of-court settlement, as Seoul has been dismayed by the rivalry that has unfold to the world stage. South Korea is the world’s largest producer of batteries for electrical automobiles, controlling greater than a 3rd of the worldwide market. However the two sides stay very distant on a settlement, with an LG govt saying “there’s a hole of over Won1tn” ($ 885 million).
SKI shares fell 4.6% on Friday, whereas these of LG Chem jumped 4.5%. The benchmark Kospi Composite closed 0.6% decrease.