© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to discuss President Biden’s FY 2023 budget request for the National Institute on
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday asked the Biden administration to review a deal by Ford Motor (NYSE: ) to use technology from Chinese battery maker CATL as part of the automaker’s plan to spend $3.5 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan.
Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asking that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) immediately review the licensing agreement between Ford and CATL.
Rubio said the deal “will only deepen America’s reliance on the Chinese Communist Party for battery technology, and is likely designed to make the plant eligible for Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits,” in a statement posted on his website.
The $430 billion IRA imposes restrictions on battery procurement and is designed to disconnect the United States from China’s electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. The IRA will eventually disallow credits if any EV battery component was manufactured by a “foreign entity of concern,” in a provision aimed at China.
CFIUS is an interagency panel led by the US Treasury that reviews proposed transactions to ensure they do not harm national security.
The Treasury Department declined to comment, but Granholm said on Twitter Monday that “bringing advanced manufacturing capabilities from abroad to the United States is critical to our competitiveness, will boost our economy and create good-paying American jobs.”
Ford said the plant will create 2,500 jobs and begin producing lower-cost and faster-charging lithium-iron-phosphate batteries in 2026. It will own and control the facility with no foreign investment or US tax dollars going to CATL, the automaker said in declare.
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said Monday that the technology agreement with CATL “will help us accelerate so that we can manufacture these batteries ourselves – batteries made here in Michigan and made for America.”
Rubio said he wants to ensure no US funds go to CATL, “especially not when US F-22s are being deployed in real time to shoot down Chinese spy balloons.”
China says the balloon shot down on February 4 was a civilian weather-monitoring craft, but the incident deepened a diplomatic rift between the countries.
House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise criticized Ford’s deal on Twitter, while Virginia’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, said last month that his state had pulled out of the race to attract a Ford plant because of concerns about potential Chinese involvement.