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Jim Farley

Ford CEO Farley calls for settlement between LG Chem and SK Innovation

Ford Motor CEO, Jim Farley, on Thursday publicly encouraged South Korean electric vehicle battery maker LG Chem and SK Innovation to reach a settlement on LG’s battery allegations that SK theft trade secrets.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Wednesday sided with LG Chem, but allowed SK to import components for regional production of lithium-ion batteries for Ford’s EV F-150 program for four years, and for Volkswagen of America’s electric vehicle line for two years.

“A voluntary settlement between these two suppliers is ultimately in the best interest of US manufacturers and workers,” Farley wrote on Twitter. He added that “ITC ruling makes way for @Ford to bring to market our groundbreaking electric F-150.”

The ITC said the decision would permit the automakers to transition to new providers for these programs.

LG Chem’s wholly-owned battery subsidiary, LG Energy Solution, an EV battery provider to Tesla Inc and General Motors Co, praised the ruling on Wednesday.

“SKI’s total disregard of our warnings and intellectual property rights gave us no choice but to file this case,” said Kim Jong-hyun, the CEO of LG Energy Solution.

SK Innovation said on Wednesday it regretted the ITC’s ruling but noted there was a 60-day presidential review period in which the US President Joe Biden could decide to revert the ruling.

Volkswagen and Ford earlier warned a U.S. legal row between South Korean battery makers could disrupt supplies of the key EV parts and cost U.S. jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

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