Intimate Involvement of Chinese Firms in Proposed EV Battery Factory Raises Security Concerns
According to Republican leaders, Ford’s partnership with four Chinese firms in the construction of a proposed EV battery factory has raised concerns over national security. The lawmakers claim that these Chinese companies, whose identities remain undisclosed, have direct ties to the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s Ministry of Public Security, and the ongoing Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang.
Republican Leaders Call for Investigation into Sanctions Evasion Activity
In letters addressed to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Republican leaders Gallagher and McMorris Rodgers requested an investigation into possible sanctions evasion activity conducted by the four Chinese firms. They also urged the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Bureau of Industry and Security to consider imposing significant trade restrictions on these entities.
Security Risks to Ford’s Plant and Sensitive Information
The concerns raised by Republican leaders revolve around the potential compromise of Ford’s security system and sensitive information. The lawmakers argue that by using the same cloud integration and data provider linked to North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs sanctions evasion activity, Ford’s entire security infrastructure could be compromised. They warn of the capability of these Chinese companies to embed backdoors, spyware, and other forms of malware, posing a risk to American data privacy rights.
Republicans Call for Cooperation from Ford
Republican leaders have requested that Ford’s President and CEO, James Farley, make a relevant company official available for an interview with their committees. They seek to gain a better understanding of the project and ensure that Ford is fully committed to following all government regulations and standards. Ford has expressed its willingness to cooperate and has emphasized its commitment to integrity in supply chains and partner selection.
Details of Chinese Firms’ Involvement in the Project
The Republican leaders provided details of the four Chinese companies’ involvement in Ford’s project. One company is contracted to develop the EV battery at Ford’s Michigan plant and is known to be a supplier of engineering design services for the Chinese military. Another company will provide Integration Platform as a Service tools and applications, which play a crucial role in IT infrastructure. This same company has ties to entities involved in sanctions evasion activity and the North Korean government.
A third Chinese company will be responsible for providing Ford with Unified Authentication Account software tools to safeguard online user access. However, this company currently supplies software services to an institute controlled by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is already under scrutiny by the Department of Commerce. The fourth company, contracted to oversee Ford’s Business Process Management software tool, has contracts with China’s Ministry of Public Security, a department sanctioned by the Treasury Department for its involvement in the Uyghur genocide.
Concerns Over Dependence on China and National Security Risks
Ford’s partnership with a Chinese company has received criticism from national security experts and lawmakers. The concern is that China’s control over the production of domestic electric vehicles could pose serious national security risks, especially amid escalating geopolitical tensions. As a result, House Republicans, led by Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, are worried about the potential expansion of China’s control over the United States’ electric vehicle supply chains and the implications this could have for national security.
Overall, Republican leaders are urging further investigation into the partnership between Ford and the four Chinese firms, stressing the need to protect national security and ensure the integrity of supply chains in critical industries.