Governor Brian Kemp sent a letter on Friday 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.”