Michigan House Republicans
Legislators: Michigan must reconsider CATL, Marshall battery plant in light of federal probe
RELEASE|February 28, 2024
Contact: William Bruck

The Michigan Legislature’s Working Group for National Security today highlighted growing concern over Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), one of the companies partnering with Ford to build the EV battery plant in Marshall. The project has been awarded more than $1.7 billion in state incentives.

Congressional hearings and federal investigations continue to shed light on the potential risks associated with CATL’s involvement in the U.S. supply chain, including connections to forced labor and close ties with the Chinese Communist Party.

“Michigan cannot afford to overlook the risks associated with partnering with CATL on the Marshall battery plant,” said Rep. Will Bruck (R-Erie), co-chair of the Michigan Legislature’s Working Group for National Security. “We must ensure that our economic development efforts align with our values and national security interests.”

“We have a duty to prioritize the well-being and security of our state and the people we represent,” said Rep. Luke Meerman (R-Coopersville), who co-chairs the working group alongside Bruck. “The Ford-CATL project warrants careful reassessment in light of the alarming information emerging about CATL’s operations and affiliations.”

Robin Zeng, founder and CEO of CATL, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, a high-ranking advisory body to the Chinese Communist Party. The committee is officially tasked with gathering intelligence on, managing relations with, and attempting to influence elite individuals and organizations inside and outside of China. Zeng previously held more than 25% of the company’s shares.

However, recent reports suggest CATL has restructured in an attempt to avoid a “foreign entities of concern” designation, which would disqualify it from receiving tax credits available through the Inflation Reduction Act.

“This maneuver only reinforces the concerns I have shared in the past about CATL’s involvement in the Marshall battery plant,” said Rep. David Martin, R-Davison. “The significant state incentives awarded to this project need to be reevaluated.”

A recent letter from Sen. Marco Rubio urging the Department of Defense to reverse its decision to install CATL batteries at Camp Lejeune, followed by the disconnection of all CATL batteries from the Marine Corps base, underscores the seriousness of the working group’s concerns.

“Given the troubling revelations regarding CATL’s connections and practices, it is imperative that Michigan reevaluate its support for any project the company has a hand in,” said Rep. Jaime Greene, R-Richmond. “We cannot afford to compromise our national security or turn a blind eye to human rights violations.”

The Michigan Legislature’s Working Group for National Security is calling for a thorough review of the Ford-CATL project, emphasizing the need to prioritize state interests, national security, and ethical considerations in all economic ventures.

“I am proud Michigan’s Legislature has a bicameral working group focused on National Security, a critical topic that is too often overlooked at the state level,” Sen. Jonathan Lindsey, R-Allen. “Unfortunately, our state’s Democrat officials have not taken this topic seriously. Our working group will never ignore these tough topics, including the very real national security concerns surrounding Chinese Communist Party linked battery plants.”


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