According to a recent report by The Detroit News, three Republican U.S. House committee chairmen are once again demanding that Ford Motor Co. hand over documents related to its licensing agreement with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex TechnologyCo. Limited (CATL) for a planned plant in Michigan. The lawmakers have threatened to “consider other means of obtaining the documents” if the company refuses and have stated that they would require CEO Jim Farley to appear before Congress “to publicly explain his failure to comply.”
The letter was signed by Reps. Jason Smith of Missouri, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, and Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, who lead the House Ways and Means Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Chinese Communist Party Select Committee, respectively.
This demand comes just two days after Ford halted construction of its $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant. While a Ford spokesman cited “a number of considerations” for this decision and mentioned that no final decision has been made on investing in the plant, Republican lawmakers are concerned about Ford’s transparency regarding their requests for documents and information.
Lawmakers have previously raised concerns about Ford’s deal with CATL, alleging connections between CATL and forced labor in China. They had requested copies of the licensing agreement between Ford and CATL, as well as all related documents and communications exchanged between the two companies or between Ford and the Biden administration regarding the agreement or federal tax credits. However, lawmakers claim that Ford provided only a “narrative” response without providing the requested documents.
Ford spokeswoman Melissa Miller responded by stating that they have thoroughly answered questions from Congress regarding their efforts to strengthen domestic battery manufacturing in order to create American jobs.
Ford has clarified that it is paying CATL for the right to use its patented technology through its lawyers’ application process. They also pointed out that competitors like Tesla Inc. and Honda Motor Co. import batteries directly from CATL.
The planned battery plant in Michigan is expected to create 2,500 jobs and will be the first plant backed by a U.S. automaker to use lithium iron phosphate technology, which can make batteries last longer. Ford has mentioned that a select number of CATL technical specialists would work at the site but would not be counted among the 2,500 jobs.
This scrutiny from lawmakers comes more than a year after Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a clean energy package aimed at investing federal funds in battery and electric vehicle production. The law intends to stimulate a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles to compete with China’s dominance in the global supply chain for minerals and batteries.
It remains to be seen how Ford will respond to this latest demand from Republican lawmakers. As they continue their investigation into the licensing agreement between Ford and CATL, it is clear that transparency regarding business dealings with Chinese companies is under intense scrutiny.
According to The Detroit News, you can read more about this story on their website: source.