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SK Innovation plans almost derailed. Gov. Brian Kemp touts hard fight for battery plant in Commerce
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Gov. Brian Kemp speaks April 19, 2021, outside the SK Innovation facility in Commerce. - photo by Jeff Gill

Gov. Brian Kemp seemed relieved when asked how close SK Innovation came to major setbacks after a rival alleged stolen intellectual property. "That's one of the reasons we fought" so hard to keep plans on track, he told reporters after a tour Monday of the Commerce facility.

Kemp said he appreciated SK’s “decision to get things settled and keep moving here.” The plant at 1523 Steve Reynolds Industrial Parkway in Commerce has 250 employees and expects to have 1,000 workers by the end of 2021. The company could have more than 2,600 employees by the end of 2024.

“It is just vital for us as American manufacturing and also not to be monopolized by China for electric batteries,” Kemp told reporters, who weren’t allowed to follow the governor inside for the tour. “It’s very important not just for our state but for our country.”

A deal was reached April 10 between SK and LG Energy Solution after LG had alleged SK had stolen intellectual property. The U.S. International Trade Commission earlier this year sided with LG and ruled that SK would be barred from importing batteries to the U.S. for 10 years — a move that would have seriously jeopardized SK’s $1.7 billion plant in Commerce.

Full details of the settlement are not yet clear, but it means that SK will avoid the 10-year import ban on its products.

SK’s plant making batteries for Ford and Volkswagen began operating in March. A second plant making batteries for Ford is under construction and is projected to begin operating in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed.

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