South Korea president visits SK electric vehicle battery plant northeast of Atlanta

Economic development officials say the SK plant, which promises to create 2,600 local jobs, has Georgia poised to be a major player in the United States’ growing electric vehicle industry. The plant alone is dramatic in size, but is likely to drive future investments as well.

SK and Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday that they had a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture in which the Korean company will manufacture battery cells for American vehicles. Officials said Saturday that the partnership would be a $6 billion venture.

Another Korean firm, Duckyang Industrial Co., also recently announced plans to invest $10 million in a Braselton facility that makes parts to accompany the batteries that SK produces.

“It is truly a game changer for our state,” Kemp said Saturday. “Right here in Jackson County, SK is creating the jobs of the future.”

It almost didn’t happen.

The U.S. International Trade Commission decided in February that SK stole trade secrets from LG Energy, and that SK should be barred from importing, making or selling batteries in the United States for 10 years.

The dispute was settled in April, with SK agreeing to pay $1.8 billion and an undisclosed royalty.

SK officials have credited Ossoff with driving the negotiations that ultimately allowed production to move ahead in Commerce.

“Just three months ago, this plant was at risk, and with it thousands of skilled jobs here in Georgia, and a reliable, diversified supply of batteries for American auto manufacturers,” Ossoff said Saturday. “But all of us here worked tirelessly to ensure that this plant would survive and continue to grow.”

Now, the Democratic senator said, Georgia “is positioned to become the leading producer of clean energy technology not just in the American South, but the entire country.”

ExploreA green tech battery plant is transforming a deep-red part of Georgia

During his brief speech Saturday, Moon also addressed the metro Atlanta spa shootings that claimed the lives of eight people — including women of Korean descent — in March.

Moon offered condolences to the victims and their families and said he appreciated “how the U.S. administration has decisively dealt with the case in a way that does justice.”

ExploreComplete coverage: Atlanta spa shootings

“I’m glad that President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act,” Moon said about the legislation aimed at reducing crimes and assaults targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. “The Korean government will also work with the U.S. administration and Korean American communities to make sure that there are no more hate crimes based on race.”

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