The Korea International Trade Association announced on June 20 that the United States imported US$2.37 billion of lithium-ion batteries for the first four months of this year, up 71 percent from a year ago, and imports from China account for 51 percent of the total imports for that period. The ratio fell to 43 percent last year, but rebounded in that period.
Last year’s decrease from 50 percent or so is because the United States imported more SK Innovation, Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution batteries from Hungary, Malaysia and Poland, respectively. At present, some companies including LG and Panasonic are manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in the United States but the supply within the United States is highly insufficient.
Although the U.S. government is trying to increase the number of electric vehicles on U.S. roads, it will take much time for electric vehicle battery plants currently under construction in the United States to become fully operational. SK Innovation’s plant in Georgia is currently in the stage of pilot production and that of LG Energy Solution and GM will not be put into operation until next year.
A recent report from the U.S. government mentions China as a risk factor in the industry. According to it, China accounts for 70 percent to 80 percent of raw material processing and battery cell production in the industry and the United States needs to pay heed to its increasing market dominance.