Four U.S. lawmakers will travel to Detroit on Tuesday to pressure the chief executives of Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co to reduce their supply chain reliance on China, especially for electric vehicle batteries. The trip underscores domestic pressure on the government as it tries to mend tensions with China. Earlier Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported some progress in those efforts after a two-day visit to Beijing.
The four lawmakers, all on the newly formed House Select Committee on China, will raise concerns about Ford’s partnership with Chinese auto battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd and auto companies’ broader reliance on China, a person familiar with the matter said. Lawmakers plan to meet with officials including Ford CEO Jim Farley and GM CEO Mary Barra.
The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ford is planning to build a battery plant in Michigan using CATL technology. Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin withdrew his state’s consideration of the proposed plant, calling the proposal a “Trojan horse” that would allow China to sabotage efforts to strengthen the U.S. auto industry.
Biden administration officials have expressed concern about China’s advantage over the United States in electric vehicle batteries. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Chinese companies account for more than half of the electric vehicle battery market and meet demand for up to 90 percent of some battery materials. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that the U.S. needs to take steps to address the problem.
Lawmakers showed no signs of easing pressure on the Ford-CATL deal and other partnerships — a stance that has angered China and fueled pressure.
Four U.S. lawmakers – Republicans Mike Gallagher and John Morenal, and Democrats Raja Krishnamursi and Hayley Stevens – are reportedly expected to — will argue CATL has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and receives subsidies from the Chinese government that allow it to compete at lower prices than U.S. companies. This person. The person asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.
They are also expected to express concerns about what they believe to be CATL technology obtained from U.S. educational institutions and companies, and to press companies to ask whether they are using Uyghur forced labor in Xinjiang to source parts for their vehicles.
Gallagher is chairman of the House Select Committee on U.S.-China Strategic Competition, of which Krishnamurthy is the Democratic leader.
First published date: June 20, 2023 at 11:10 AM CST