State Politics

Kemp Issues Statement on SK Innovation, LG Energy Solution Deal

Governor Brian P. Kemp issued the following statement on the settlement deal reached by SK Innovation and LG Energy Solution.

“The announcement of a settlement between SK innovation and LG Energy Solution is fantastic news for northeast Georgia and our state’s growing electric vehicle industry,” said Governor Kemp. “Our state attracted this massive $2.6 billion investment because of Georgia’s pro-growth leadership, and I have personally participated in countless meetings, calls, and other conversations to make sure this project and the 2,600 expected jobs continued to move forward. I want to offer a special thank you to local leadership in Jackson County and the city of Commerce, our incredible partners with the government of South Korea both here and in Seoul, as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative for assisting the two companies through the settlement negotiations process.”

“A week ago, talks between these companies had stalled and 2,600 Georgia jobs were at risk. My team and I led the effort to re-open negotiations and secure a settlement that has saved the battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, ensuring thousands of jobs, billions in future investment, and that Georgia will be a leader in electric vehicle battery production for years to come,” Sen. Ossoff said.

“I am appreciative that leadership at both SKI and LGES were willing to communicate daily with me and my team over the last week to jumpstart negotiations and resolve the impasse that threatened thousands of Georgia jobs. I am also thankful to President Biden’s team and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for their partnership in this effort,” Sen. Ossoff continued.

SKI CEO and President Jun Kim praised Senator Ossoff’s diligent work to secure this deal. Kim said, “When the future of the plant was in jeopardy, Senator Ossoff provided leadership and helped us achieve a path forward. This successful outcome will lead to billions more in investment in Georgia. The state is now positioned to be the nation’s leader in electric vehicle battery production.”

Read the Governor’s previous statement on the International Trade Commission ruling and letter to President Biden in support of Georgia jobs.

In March, Kemp sent a letter repeating his request for President Biden to overturn the International Trade Commission ruling against SK Innovation to save thousands of jobs in northeast Georgia directly tied to this project.

“Dear Mr. President:

Your administration has embarked on an important review relating to the future of an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, which will employ nearly 2,600 people and represents the largest foreign investment in my state’s history at nearly $2.6 billion. When completed, this factory will account for nearly half of our nation’s vitally needed non-captive EV batteries, which will be available for purchase by EV manufacturers on the free market. The plant’s initial yearly output will supply 22 GWh of EV battery capacity, which is enough battery capacity for 330,000 electric cars and there are plans for it to expand to employ more than 6,000 workers and produce 50 GWh annually by 2025. The factory is owned by the Korean company, SK Innovation (“SKI”), and will be the only major EV battery plant in the nation to have been built without federal subsidies.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a decision preventing SKI from importing battery parts and components for ten years, subject to a limited exception to allow the company to produce batteries at the plant for Ford for four years and VW for two years. SKI has told the state of Georgia the ITC ruling will make it impossible for the plant to be economically viable and, absent action taken by you to disapprove the ITC ruling, SKI will be forced to shutter the Commerce facility.

The Commerce plant fits squarely into your publicly announced goal of electrification of the U.S. auto fleet with good, high paying jobs for local workers. Furthermore, your recently announced Executive Order on supply chains recognized the critical role of EV batteries to our economy and national security. Given that China is currently the leading producer of EV batteries, closing the Commerce, Georgia plant will result in the United States falling further behind China in the global EV battery race.

On behalf of the people of Georgia, I respectfully request that you exercise the authority granted to you under law to disapprove the ITC ruling on grounds that it is contrary to the public interest and will seriously jeopardize your administration’s environmental and economic goals.

I recognize this may not be an easy decision, but it is also not without precedent. President Obama took similar action in 2013 when he concluded that an ITC decision also threatened the public interest and would harm US consumers. Decisive action to disapprove the ITC ruling in this case is similarly vital to prevent the ruling’s adverse impact on Georgia and the US economy, and to preserve our nation’s ability to compete in the global race for clean energy cars and trucks.

Simply put: the livelihoods of thousands of Georgians are now in your hands. This critical opportunity requires us to work together for the good of my state and our country. Please know that I am available to assist in any way with your decision.”

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