US Lawmakers Investigate Ford’s Ties to Chinese Battery Maker CATL

Summary

  • Ford’s use of technology from Chinese battery maker CATL for its Michigan battery plant has garnered scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers.
  • Specific concerns revolve around potential export restrictions on Chinese companies involved in the facility’s design, construction, and IT processes.
  • Lawmakers seek answers on Ford’s due diligence prior to partnering with CATL and question whether U.S. tax subsidies could end up in China.
  • The lawmakers claim that a Beijing-based company involved in the plant’s design also provides services to China’s military.
  • There are also concerns that a Chinese IT company supplying tools for the plant might be evading sanctions and have ties to North Korea.

U.S. Lawmakers Scrutinize Ford’s Chinese Battery Plant Partnership

Ford’s Michigan battery plant partnership with Chinese battery manufacturer CATL is facing considerable criticism from U.S. lawmakers. They are predominantly concerned about the facility’s design, construction, and IT processes being potentially influenced by Chinese companies.

Senior members of Congress, including the chairperson of the select committee on China and the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, are urging for an official investigation and imposition of export restrictions against the involved Chinese companies.

Ford clarified its stance by asserting that it strictly adheres to all government regulations and mandates its suppliers to comply with strict standards, including human rights protection measures.

Probing Ford’s Partnership with CATL

In September, the lawmakers requisitioned documents related to Ford’s partnership with CATL and suggested that the CEO, Jim Farley, might be asked to testify before Congress.

In a recent letter, they queried Farley about Ford’s due diligence procedures before and after entering into agreements with CATL. They pressed for an interview with the Ford official well-versed in the specifics of the partnership.

Concerns over Chinese Influence and Potential Sanctions Evasion

Republican lawmakers have shown concern that the Ford-CATL aggregated agreement might indirectly channel U.S. tax subsidies to China. They maintain that it also puts a Beijing-based company in charge of the conceptual design for the Michigan battery plant, while alleging the said company concurrently serves China’s military.

Fears extend to potential sanctions evasion by a Chinese IT company providing services for the plant, with possible ties to North Korea. This has led the lawmakers to call on the Treasury and State Departments to instigate an investigation.

“It’s irreconcilable for Ford to engage the same data provider implicated in North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affair’s evasion activities,” stated the letter.

Responding to this, the Treasury voiced its commitment to countering North Korea’s illegal revenue generation ventures amid allegations of labor exploitation and cyber espionage in China.

Impact on Ford’s Investment Plans

Meanwhile, amidst such controversies, Ford has significantly reduced its investment in the Michigan plant. Originally planned as a $3.5 billion venture, the revised total investment is now expected to be $2 billion.

Market fluctuations and geopolitical tensions can impact forex trading and a range of financial assets. Investors closely following Ford’s partnership with CATL and its subsequent conflicts with U.S. lawmakers should factor these developments into their trading strategies.

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