Rubio: Cut off federal funding to Ford EV battery plant in Michigan with Chinese ties

By Scott McClallen (The Center Square).

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, has called for an investigation into the automaker and its deal with Chinese service provider and technology licensor CATL, after Michigan leaders pledged $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies for Ford’s new electric vehicle plant in Marshall.

Rubio sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, calling for the creation of an immediate Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to review the licensing agreement between Ford and Contemporary Amperex. Technology Co., Ltd.

Rubio asked the Biden administration not to support the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts by providing tax credits or other funding for the deal.

“[I]f Chinese companies like CATL are able to exploit both Chinese and U.S. incentives for battery and EV technology through clever corporate arrangements, there is no point in investing federal funds toward industry development in the first place,” Rubio wrote. “Taxpayer dollars are never Should not be used to support PRC champions.”

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PRC is the abbreviation of People’s Republic of China.

Michigan competed with several other states for factories. Virginia Governor Glenn Yonkin withdrew from the talks, saying his administration “felt the right thing to do was not to hire Ford as America’s front from China.”

Ford aims to use the plant to deliver an annual run rate of 600,000 electric vehicles worldwide by the end of this year and 2 million by the end of 2026.

Michigan has 25,181 EVs registered statewide.

“I am alarmed by Ford’s plan to set up a large, Michigan-based factory, structured as a wholly owned subsidiary that licenses its technology from CATL,” Rubio wrote. “As such, I am writing to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to request a review of the licensing agreement, as well as to withhold any federal funds – specifically money or tax credits provided through the Inflation Reduction Act (PL 117-). 169) – directly or indirectly go on to enrich PRC national champion CATL, or any other Beijing-backed company.”

Rubio said that in 2015, Beijing released its Made in China 2025 plan, which identified EVs as a target industry to dominate. He said the CCP has worked to fund and develop EV battery technology and aim to monopolize key input processes such as phosphoric acid production.

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Rubio sought answers to the following questions within 30 days:

  • To what extent does CATL rely on US research and development to produce its own batteries?
  • Does CATL provide equipment, technology or other services to the PRC government?
  • Does CATL provide equipment, technology or other services to the People’s Liberation Army, the People’s Armed Police or any other security organization controlled by the CCP?
  • Has CATL acquired any assets through any transaction that is reviewable under CFIUS?
  • Has CATL ever engaged in forced labor or child labor?
  • Will CATL have equity, ownership or other forms of control over Ford’s planned subsidiaries and factories?

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday celebrated the deal by lowering their prices for EV adoption and returning the supply chain to Michigan.

Syndicated with permission from Center Square.

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