A federal panel will not stop a Chinese electric vehicle battery manufacturer from setting up shop in Michigan, where $175 million in state taxpayer dollars is being lavished on the project.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is an interagency task force convened by the Treasury Department, said Tuesday that the project was not in its purview under the Defense Production Act, according to Fox News.
“We voluntarily submitted all the needed documents to the U.S. Department of Treasury Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to be transparent and accountable and received the response that it is not a covered transaction,” Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s vice president of North American operations, said in a statement.
Gotion will now move forward after pausing the project to request federal review.
Fox reported that the corporate bylaws of the China-based parent company require the company to “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
Republican Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan, an opponent of the project, blasted the lack of action taken by the panel.
“Gotion has not disclosed the materials it submitted to CFIUS and has not released the NDAs it forced Michigan officials to sign. While it insists on secrecy, one document everyone has seen is Gotion High Tech’s articles of association where it pledges allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party and says it will carry out party activities,” he said in a statement on his website
“Today’s announcement from Gotion is not an approval from CFIUS, but another example of the broken CFIUS process where the government claims deals are outside its jurisdiction. Last year, CFIUS said it had no jurisdiction to block a CCP-affiliated company from buying farmland less than 15 miles from an Air Force base in North Dakota. The military and the local community had to stop the deal because CFIUS failed to protect our nation’s security,” he said.
However, some local residents were outraged at the time.
“I’m angry. I’m angry that this vote was slipped into the agenda today with as little information as possible so that people like me wouldn’t know it was happening,” local resident Marjorie Steele said then. “I’m angry that you, our elected officials, have ignored my community’s pleas to table this vote until some small semblance of due diligence can be performed.”
“I can promise you that we will not stop at the local level. We are tired of being abused and we are not alone. This is not just a Mecosta County issue. Townships and counties across the state are uniting, sharing resources, manpower and grassroots activism. Your votes today, senators, are lines drawn in the sand,” she said.
Joseph Cella, the U.S. ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, and Tonga from 2019 until 2021 and a member of a group scrutinizing China’s deals to expand in Michigan, said the deal is bad news for America, according to Fox News.
“Subnational incursions are afoot,” he said.
“China is on the hunt. The Chinese Communist Party is on the hunt. They are looking for these open doors to kick in, in states. And they have carried great sway,” he said.