SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s SK Innovation 096770KS said on Monday it is considering building an electric vehicle battery plant in the United States as part of its effort to secure customers in one of the world’s biggest electric vehicle (EV) markets.
The move came after U.S. President Donald Trump on May 23 ordered a ‘Section 232’ national security investigation into whether to impose a 25 percent tariff on vehicle and auto parts imported from other countries.
“We are considering building a battery plant in southern part of the U.S. and at the moment two to three states are on the list,” a spokeswoman for SK Innovation said, adding the timeframe for the plant and other details have not been decided.
“U.S. expansion aims to supply products to U.S. automakers. We can also expect tariff benefits, although this is not the major reason for the expansion,” another company official told Reuters.
In August, SK Innovation, which owns South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy and part of South Korea’s No.3 conglomerate, announced its plan to build an electric vehicle battery factory in China by 2019, under a joint venture with BAIC Motor and Beijing Electronics. It is also building a battery plant in Hungary.
Reporting by Haejin Choi and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Sunil Nair