Ford Motor Company has said it will halt work on a $3.5 billion plant in Michigan that will be built in partnership with Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), a Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries. The Detroit-based manufacturer announced the suspension of facility construction and the reduction of associated spending but gave no further explanation for its decision. Despite months of defense, Ford has not decided on the project.
Earlier this year, the firm declared it would spend $3.5 billion to construct the plant in Marshall, Michigan. The company also revealed an arrangement with CATL, a firm based in Ningde, China, to use CATL’s services in the plant’s battery cell production. Democrats, such as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer backed Ford’s statement. The company’s decision to invest heavily in a Chinese enterprise linked to the Chinese Communist Party was heavily attacked by Republicans and national security experts.
The idea was discussed in Virginia but never taken very far.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has spoken out against the facility, citing security concerns and the fact that CATL and the Chinese Communist Party would have complete control over the plant’s operations as reasons for his opposition. Co-founders of the Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group and former U.S. ambassadors Peter Hoekstra and Joseph Cella praised the building of the risky deal and stressed the breakdown of the people’s consent to the government.
According to reports, Chinese investors with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have owned shares in CATL. In addition to CATL, the Chinese government has taken deliberate initiatives over the past decade to encourage the growth of China’s electric vehicle industry. Last year, it was revealed that Zeng Yuqun, CATL’s creator in 2012 and current senior executive, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.