(Adds share moves, analyst reaction in paragraphs 7 and 8)
WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The United States
International Trade Commission (ITC) on Monday delayed a
decision in a trade secrets case involving South Korean battery
makers LG Chem and SK Innovation to
LG Chem, an EV battery supplier for Tesla and
General Motors, filed its trade complaints against SK
Innovation last year in the United States over allegations of
trade secret theft, seeking to block SK from producing battery
cells in the United States and importing the components
necessary to make the cells. SK denied wrongdoing.
The ITC decision was initially planned for early October.
An adverse ruling by the ITC could lead to the import ban of
SK Innovation's batteries and necessary components, potentially
causing setbacks for Volkswagen and Ford Motor
as they move to build new electric vehicles.
"It is clear that this delay has resulted in a longer
litigation process," SK Innovation said in a statement, adding
it "hopes that the two firms could make a wise decision to wash
off uncertainties caused by prolonged litigation by ending this
dispute promptly and to focus on businesses."
Bert C. Reiser, counsel to LG Chem, said the company remains
"extremely confident that the commission will hold SK Innovation
responsible for their theft and issue appropriate remedies to
make LG Chem whole."
Shares of LG Chem dropped as much as 2.9%, while SK
Innovation saw its shares rise as much as 3.0% versus a 0.2%
drop in the broader market KOSPI in morning trade.
Analyst said the ITC's decision to delay its final
determination is adding uncertainties for LG Chem, while giving
SK Innovation more time to review the lawsuit after the ITC
initially ruled in favour of LG Chem in February.
Roh Woo-ho, an analyst at Mertiz Securities, said the delay
could indicate the ITC "is facing difficulties making the final
determination on the case, considering the impact it will bring
to industrial issues in the United States including job issues."
He also noted the delay pushes a decision past the Nov. 3
U.S. election. Opinion polls show a tight race between
Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe
Biden in Georgia, with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll
released on Monday showing Biden favored among likely voters 47%
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Heekyong Yang
in Seoul; Editing by Grant McCool and Richard Pullin)