The growing Chinese footprint in Michigan may soon be facing greater scrutiny as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) rolls out the welcome mat to the communists in the name of economic development.
Whitmer and state agencies have provided nearly $2 billion in incentives for two communist China-linked projects: Gotion in Big Rapids and CATL in Marshall. The latter is in partnership with Ford and the Michigan-based company took the lead in the recent media coverage.
The governor has attempted to brush past questions about national security and instead focus on the alleged job creation as the topic became a flashpoint in a debate with Republican Tudor Dixon.
Michigan could not “unilaterally disarm and think we’re going to build an economy of the future. We have to run fast and win,” Whitmer argued.
But others are more skeptical and are calling for a closer look at the deal Whitmer is touting.
After Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) explained why he rejected CATL, a “source close to House Republican leadership” told The Daily Wire, “The closer Ford gets to the Chinese communists the closer we’re going to look at their business,” adding, “We’re quickly approaching the point where Ford’s business practices are becoming a national security threat.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R) wrote in a letter to the Biden administration, “I am alarmed at Ford’s plan to establish a large, Michigan-based factory, structured as a wholly owned subsidiary that licenses its technology from CATL,” according to Ford Authority. “As such, I write to request a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review of the licensing agreement, as well as demand that no federal funds – especially monies or tax credits granted via the Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169) – go to enrich PRC national champion CATL, or any other Beijing-supported company, directly or indirectly.”
The Mid-Michigan township — which previously approved the economic incentives for Gotion — is now calling for more scrutiny, as well.
The Big Rapids Township board voted 5-0 Wednesday to request “a federal national security review” of the Chinese company that is poised to occupy some 700 acres of farmland in its region, including a portion of Big Rapids Township, the Detroit News reported.
“This has been a very rushed, non-transparent process without the necessary scrutiny given,” township treasurer Pennie Currie said. “Township officials tried to ask questions and be included in the process but have been repeatedly denied detailed information because some of the people are covered by NDAs, which appears to go all the way to the top.”
The Gotion project received $715 million in cash and tax incentives from Michigan taxpayers.
China is now saying it, too, will scrutinize the deal to “ensure the Chinese company’s core technology is not shared with the U.S. automaker,” Reuters reported, and its secrets are protected in the CATL deal.
“Beijing is concerned the Detroit carmaker could gain access to the competitive aspects of CATL’s technology,” Reuters added.
Whitmer and American supporters of China’s involvement have insisted Gotion and CATL are free of communist control.