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SK finally agreed to settle with LG over the battery dispute

Photo by: Leon Benjamin/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

SK Innovation finally settled with LG Energy Solution and agreed to pay KRW2 trillion or around $1.8 billion. The deal was reached at the last minute since it was only a few hours away when the 10-year import ban on SK was set to be finalized and implemented by the U.S. International Trade Commission if the White House will not reverse the decision.

The momentous deal

As per The Korea Times, LG and SK negotiated and announced their deal on Sunday, April 11. It was added that the South Korean companies also agreed to drop all the lawsuits each has filed in S. Korea and other regions overseas. What’s more, on top of the payments and agreement to drop the cases, LGES and SK Innovation also made a promise not to file more lawsuits in the next decade.

The rival companies’ deal was made ahead of the April 11 deadline for U.S. President Joe Biden to veto the USITC’s ruling that favored LG. The agreement effectively concluded SK and LG’s two-year legal battle that was initiated by LG Chem in 2019.

"The agreement reflects LGES' willingness to engage in fair competition and coexist with competitors, and it is meaningful in that LGES' intellectual property was recognized," LG stated.

After the successful settlement, The Korea Herald further quoted LG’s CEO Kim Jong Hyun and SKI’s CEO Kim Jun as saying in a joint statement, "The two companies agreed on sound competition and friendly cooperation for the development of the EV battery industry in South Korea and the United States."

SK to fulfill its commitment in the U.S.

At any rate, in the KRW2 trillion that SK will pay in the settlement agreement, KRW1 trillion will be paid in the next two years. The remaining balance will be paid in royalties.

On the part of SK, it said that it will now focus on the launch of its operations in the Georgia plant that is currently being built. It also mentioned adhering to its environmental responsibility and promised to generate jobs for people in Georgia.

"SKI has come to bear greater responsibility in the U.S. government's environmental policies, the growth of the state of Georgia's economy and the creation of jobs, with regards to this dispute."

The company added, "We plan to focus on launching operations of our first plant in Georgia and accelerate the construction of the second while making additional investments both here and abroad to enable the development of the global EV industry and the creation of an ecosystem."

Government officials in S. Korea and the U.S. have previously called for LG and SK to end their conflict and negotiate, but the case only escalated. Finally, on April 11, the two sides decided to get on with their businesses and end the litigation. The deal was welcomed by many sectors following previous failed settlement attempts.

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