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US Lawmakers Intensify Pressure On Ford Over Battery Deal With CATL

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Republican lawmakers in the United States have escalated their investigation into Ford’s agreement with Chinese company CATL, urging the automaker to hand over documents pertaining to their licensing agreement. The probe, initiated by two House committees in July, focuses on Ford’s use of CATL’s battery cell technology in its now-halted battery cell plant in Michigan.

Key Takeaway

US lawmakers are intensifying their scrutiny of Ford’s agreement with CATL, demanding greater transparency and requesting documents related to the licensing agreement. The lawmakers are concerned about CATL’s potential links to forced labor and human rights abuses, as well as the impact on US jobs. Ford’s response highlights its commitment to domestic battery production and job creation.

New Request for Documents

In a letter sent on Wednesday, House representatives Mike Gallagher, Jason Smith, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers demanded that Ford provide information on its licensing agreement with CATL. They threatened to subpoena Ford CEO Jim Farley if the requested documents are not handed over by October 6. The lawmakers expressed concerns about Ford’s lack of transparency regarding their previous requests for information.

Concerns over CATL’s Links

The letter also seeks copies of Ford’s licensing agreement with CATL in both English and Chinese, as well as any documents revealing the company’s knowledge of CATL’s connections to forced labor and human rights abuses. Additionally, the lawmakers requested information about discussions between Ford and the Biden Administration. This latest request follows inquiries made by the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and Chinese Communist Party.

Ford’s Response

A Ford spokesperson stated that the company has thoroughly responded to previous inquiries from Congress and that their answers have clarified misconceptions about the Marshall project. Ford emphasized its efforts to strengthen domestic battery production, create job opportunities in the United States, and enhance the country’s global competitiveness.

Background on the Agreement

In February, Ford announced plans to construct a $3.5 billion factory in Michigan to produce low-cost lithium iron phosphate batteries in collaboration with CATL. However, the company recently paused these plans due to the ongoing strike by the United Autoworkers. It remains uncertain whether the pause is temporary or if the project will be abandoned altogether.

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