Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) says “no federal funds” should go to enrich companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), requesting a federal review of a deal between Ford and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall, Michigan.
As Breitbart News reported, Ford and CATL are planning a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall — a deal celebrated by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). CATL is China’s premier electric vehicle battery supplier and enjoys immense support from subsidies overseen by the CCP.
As part of the deal, Ford is hoping to score federal subsidies through President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for batteries produced at the Marshall plant despite CATL’s involvement.
Rubio, in a letter to Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, writes that he is “alarmed” by the Ford and CATL deal, urging the administration to open a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
“I write to request a Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. review of the licensing agreement, as well as demand that no federal funds … go to enrich PRC national champion CATL, or any other Beijing-supported company, directly or indirectly,” Rubio writes:
As you are aware, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has not hidden its ambitious goals when it comes to developing and weaponizing its industrial capacity. In 2015, Beijing published its Made in China 2025 plan, which specifically identified electric vehicles (EV) as a target industry to dominate within the decade. In particular, the CCP has worked to fund and develop EV battery technologies, taking steps to ban foreign-made batteries from the market and striving to monopolize critical input processes, such as phosphoric acid production, in their industrial sector. [Emphasis added]
As you are also aware, even nominally private Chinese companies enjoy rich state support from Beijing, as well as important controls on their ownership. These firms are also obliged by numerous CCP policies and laws to support the regime’s objectives. CATL is no exception. As described in a 2021 New York Times report, “Chinese government officials made sure CATL’s business stayed in Chinese hands. They created a captive market of battery customers. And when CATL needed money, they doled it out.” As a result, CATL today is the world’s largest EV battery producer, guaranteeing powerful ties with automakers anxious to respond to incentives from federal governments around the world toward shifting away from internal-combustion engines. [Emphasis added]
The exact structure of this arrangement has yet to be reported, but policymakers should be clear-eyed about one takeaway: if Chinese companies like CATL are able to exploit both Chinese and United States incentives for battery and EV technology through clever corporate arrangements, then there is no use in investing federal funds toward industrial development in the first place. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to support PRC champions. [Emphasis added]
This week, Breitbart News reported details of CATL CEO Zeng Yuqun ties to the CCP. Yuqun is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee — a high-ranking CCP advisory body that serves as a central component of the party’s “United Front” efforts.
China’s “United Front” efforts, as the federal government has noted, are considered to be a front for CCP intelligence operations overseas.
“The United Front strategy uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies,” a federal commission report from 2018 details.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
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