Ford’s announcement that it is investing $3.5 billion in a new EV battery cell plant in Michigan using technology from China’s CATL has caught the attention of Republican senators and representatives who called for a federal review of the agreement.
On February 14, Florida Senator Marco Rubio asked the Biden Administration to review Ford’s deal to use technology from Chinese battery company CATL for a future LFP battery cell plant in Marshall, Michigan.
The senator wrote to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg calling for an immediate Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of the licensing agreement between Ford and CATL.
In the letter, Senator Rubio also requested a commitment from the Biden Administration not to support Chinese Communist Party efforts by providing tax credits or other funding for the deal.
In a statement posted on his website, Rubio, who is the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the deal “will only deepen US reliance on the Chinese Communist Party for battery tech, and is likely designed to make the factory eligible for Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits.”
He also said he was “alarmed at Ford’s plan to establish a large, Michigan-based factory, structured as a wholly owned subsidiary that licenses its technology from CATL.”
The $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act sets restrictions on battery sourcing and is designed for the US to break off from the Chinese supply chain for EVs. The IRA will eventually deny credits if any EV battery components were manufactured by a “foreign entity of concern,” in a provision aimed at China.
While the US Treasury declined to comment, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Twitter on Monday that “bringing advanced manufacturing capabilities from overseas to the United States is key to our competitiveness, will stimulate our economy, and create good-paying American jobs.”
Marco Rubio is not the only Republican politician to voice concerns about Ford’s deal with CATL. Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise tweeted criticism of the Ford deal, calling it “shameful,” while Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said last month that his state had withdrawn from the competition to attract the Ford plant over concerns about CATL’s CCP ties.