Biden admin appears to give pass to Chinese-backed green energy plant
The Biden administration appears to have green-lit a project proposed by Chinese-controlled battery company Gotion to build a factory in the U.S. after a short review.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — an interagency taskforce overseen by the Department of the Treasury and tasked with reviewing certain foreign investments that may pose a national security threat — determined a Gotion project in the southern U.S. was not subject to further review, according to the company’s top North America executive.
‘Gotion is pleased to share the news we received from the Department of Treasury yesterday regarding a voluntary Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, filing that we submitted in March for a proposed plant in the southern United States,’ said Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s vice president of North American operations.
‘Following an almost four-week review process by the committee, which is a nine panel committee using all the intelligence agencies within the United States, CFIUS determined that our proposed transaction was not subject to further review and we may proceed with the proposed transaction,’ he continued.
Thelen’s comments came during a hearing Thursday before state lawmakers in Michigan where Gotion, a subsidiary of the Hefei City, China-based Gotion High-Tech, has proposed a separate electric vehicle battery project. That factory, which Gotion is set to begin building in Big Rapids, Michigan, this year, has faced heavy scrutiny given the company’s ties to China.
Thelen mentioned the CFIUS review for Gotion’s southern U.S. plant, the exact location of which he didn’t disclose, in an effort to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about the Michigan project. He also mentioned a voluntary CFIUS review concerning the Michigan plant is ongoing.
‘Our voluntary filing for the Big Rapids area plant was submitted April 13 as I have indicated previously and we expect a similar review period and outcome,’ he said. ‘So, the CFIUS for the southern United States has already been passed.’
Later in the hearing, in a 10-9 vote, the Michigan state Senate Appropriations Committee gave the final stamp of approval for granting Gotion $175 million in direct taxpayer funding to help build the facility. The vote, which only received support from Democratic lawmakers on the panel, was immediately slammed by Republicans who argued it was a corporate handout benefiting an adversary.
Republican state Sen. Lana Theis, one of the committee members who voted against the funding, said Gotion has ‘deep ties to and is directly influenced by the Chinese Communist Party’ and added that it wasn’t inconceivable that China might weaponize the plant ‘causing untold damage and security risks.’
‘Gotion crafted, in secret, a sweetheart deal with eager government bureaucrats that threatens our state and national sovereignty and security, the environment, and public health and safety, while essentially costing the company nothing in return,’ she said in a statement.
According to its corporate bylaws, Gotion High-Tech is required to ‘carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.’
And Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., who represents the district where the Big Rapids plant would be constructed, released communications between himself and the Treasury Department over a CFIUS review he requested in February. In an April 4 letter, Treasury Assistant Secretary Jonathan Davidson reiterated the importance of CFIUS, but didn’t address Moolenaar’s concerns.
‘Treasury’s response fails to provide information on CCP investment in Michigan and reflects how the federal review process is broken,’ Moolenaar said. ‘During the 46 days it took to craft this insufficient reply, CFIUS could have conducted a review of the CCP-affiliated Gotion project in Mecosta County.’
‘The lack of transparency in this process is concerning and people should be able to know that a company that is trying to come into their community is being reviewed for its ties,’ he added. ‘While it is welcome that Gotion recently requested a federal review on its own, the subsidiary of a parent company that pledges allegiance to the CCP should not pass a CFIUS review to build a facility in Michigan.’
The Michigan lawmaker later added that the Michigan legislature’s decision to give funding to Gotion was a ‘historic mistake.’
When asked about the status of the ongoing CFIUS reviews and the review Gotion touted on Thursday, the Treasury Department declined to directly comment.
‘CFIUS is committed to taking all necessary actions within its authority to safeguard U.S. national security,’ a Treasury Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital. ‘Consistent with law and practice, CFIUS does not publicly comment on transactions that it may or may not be reviewing.’