WASHINGTON — Ford on Friday dismissed criticism from the U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee over its choice to pursue battery contracts with SK Innovation.

The ITC mentioned the second-largest U.S. automaker pursued new contracts even after proof had emerged that the South Korean electrical automobile (EV) battery maker misappropriated commerce secrets and techniques from cross-town rival LG Chem.

“Opposite to the ITC’s assumption, Ford was dedicated to a few further battery applications tied to SK Innovation earlier than any misconduct had surfaced,” Ford mentioned, including that “key information” would have emerged if the ITC “performed a public curiosity listening to.”

The ITC didn’t instantly remark.

The ITC final month sided with LG Chem in its commerce secrets and techniques claims, issuing a restricted 10-year exclusion order prohibiting imports of lithium-ion batteries made by SK Innovation (SK).

It permitted SK to import elements for home manufacturing of batteries for Ford’s EV F-150 program for 4 years, and for Volkswagen’s MEB electrical automobile line for North America for 2 years.

SK has warned the ITC choice would power it to halt development of a $2.6 billion battery plant in Georgia if it isn’t overturned by President Joe Biden.

In a redacted opinion launched on Thursday, the ITC questioned why Ford pursued battery contracts with SK Innovation after SK’s misconduct on this investigation had come to gentle.

It mentioned Ford sought enterprise with SK even after an organization worker was deposed in November 2019 within the fee’s investigation and when the automaker solely had a contract with SK to produce batteries for the EV F-150.

“There isn’t a rationalization within the document why Ford would select to disregard or excuse SK’s egregious misconduct,” the ITC mentioned.

“The fault right here belongs with SK, in addition to with these, like Ford, who intentionally selected to proceed to domesticate potential enterprise relationships predicated on SK’s commerce secret misappropriation.”

Ford mentioned Friday it “doesn’t condone the actions SK Innovation is accused of — significantly misappropriating commerce secrets and techniques and destroying proof in the midst of an investigation.”

LG Chem famous the ITC ruling discovered SK misappropriated LG commerce secrets and techniques value billions of {dollars} spanning all the electrical automobile battery enterprise.

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