Light Wave


Lawmakers Blast Ford’s Battery Deal with Chinese Firm: ‘Exposes US to Whims of Communist Party’

By Jake Beardslee · July 24, 2023

Map of Ford Motor Company's global reach. Lawmakers have questioned the car maker's pact with a Chinese firm to build a battery plant in Michigan.  The Wikipeadian guy, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

House lawmakers are demanding answers from Ford Motors over the company’s partnership with Chinese battery maker CATL to build a multi-billion dollar battery plant in Michigan.

In a tough-worded letter to Ford’s leadership, Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Jason Smith (R-MO) said the bulk of the jobs promised in this deal will go to Chinese, not American, workers. They warned that Ford’s reliance on China “exposes it and the U.S. taxpayers to the whims of the Chinese Communist Party and its politics.”

Florida Congressman Carlos Gimenez (R), who sits on the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the U.S. and China, raised deep concerns over the partnership on Fox News.

“Just about everything concerns me when it comes to the Chinese Communist Party,” Gimenez said. “What concerns me is that the U.S. taxpayer… will be paying for Chinese workers - hundreds of Chinese workers - to come and work at this plant.”

Gimenez questioned why Ford would need to partner with a Chinese company in the first place. “Did the Biden administration give Ford the green light?” he asked. “The Biden administration talks real tough about getting tough on China and sanctions, etc. But then, like I always say, never listen to what the Biden administration says. Always look at what they’re doing. And this is an example, I believe, of the Biden administration helping out the the CCP.”

In response, Ford said in a statement that the company is investing $3.5 billion in the Michigan plant and will own and operate it, rather than building a battery plant elsewhere or importing batteries from China. Ford said the plant will create 2,500 American jobs while helping strengthen domestic manufacturing.

Gimenez remained skeptical, saying, “They’re looking for profits above the national security interests of the United States. Shame on Ford for doing this.”

Light Wave commentary

The brewing controversy over Ford’s deal with Chinese battery maker CATL highlights growing concerns over America’s economic reliance on China. Ford touts job creation, yet lawmakers warn of Chinese government influence in a key strategic industry: batteries for electric vehicles. Whether warnings from lawmakers are valid or overblown, the issue clearly warrants robust scrutiny given China’s long and untoward history of intellectual property theft against the U.S.