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This story was updated Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at 6:15 p.m. with more information.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday called for President Joe Biden to overturn a ruling by a trade panel against a battery supplier for electric vehicles to be built in Chattanooga.

Without the action, Kemp said the long-term prospects of SK Innovation's $2.6 billion electric vehicle battery production plant in Northeast Georgia would be "harmed significantly" and he called for "swift presidential action."

The governor said there's a 60-day window for presidential review during which time the Biden administration may overturn the findings that would affect SK Innovation, along with its customers, Ford and Volkswagen.

"Litigation in these disputes is always complex, and there are several additional levels of review prior to a final resolution – along with the possibility of a settlement," Kemp said in a statement. "President Biden and his administration also have the opportunity to support thousands of hardworking Georgians – and their communities – who would benefit from SK Innovation's continued success in our state."

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled for South Korean electric vehicle battery maker LG Chem against rival SK Innovation in a dispute.

LG Chem, along with its LG Energy Solution entity, claimed that SK Innovation attempted to destroy a wide range of evidence indicating that it stole confidential battery-making trade secrets.

A Volkswagen of America spokesman said the ruling by the trade panel won't impact a planned 2022 production launch of an electric SUV in Chattanooga.

Company spokesman Mike Tolbert said VW is continuing to analyze the ruling, but he said the decision does not change Volkswagen's commitment to produce the vehicle in Chattanooga next year.

Song Jung, legal counsel for LG Chem entity LG Energy Solutions, said in response to the governor's statement that SK Innovation's new plant would have relied on stolen trade secrets.

"Unfortunately, the state of Georgia and others are victims of SK Innovation's theft," he said.

Jung said that SK Innovation can provide a remedy by adequately compensating LG Energy Solutions for "their unlawful conduct" and that LG Energy "wants to work with Gov. Kemp to help the plant and the workers, while upholding the rule of law."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

 

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