EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Youngkin Pulls Virginia From Location Consideration In Chinese Deal With Ford

(Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Virginia is removing itself from consideration as the location of a manufacturing plant in an ongoing deal between Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese battery manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), a person close to talks told the Daily Caller.

“The governor has directed the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to remove Virginia from consideration for this project and not to submit an incentive package,” the source told the Daily Caller. “Ultimately, Virginia is removing itself from any possibilities of the CATL plant being established due to concerns surrounding the deal.”

The ownership arrangement between Ford and CATL permits Ford to own the plant, including all buildings and structures, while CATL will have control of the factory operations and the technology used to build the car batteries.

CATL’s connection to the Chinese government is a “major concern” for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a source close to the talks told the Daily Caller, adding that Youngkin also has an issue with the terms of the deal that would allow CATL to receive U.S. tax benefits under the new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Although operated by a Chinese company, this unconventional partnership would qualify the Ford-owned plant to receive the renewable energy production tax credits through Section 48C expansions in the IRA. (RELATED: ‘Threat Posed By The CCP’: States Are Taking Action Against Chinese-Influenced TikTok)

Youngkin recently took steps to block CCP-linked applications at the state level, according to an executive order the governor signed on Dec. 16. The order banned TikTok and WeChat from being used on government-issued devices, including state-issued cellphones, laptops, or other devices capable of connecting to the internet except for public safety purposes.

“TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American,” said Youngkin in a press release. “We are taking this step today to secure state government devices and wireless networks from the threat of infiltration and ensure that we safeguard the data and cybersecurity of state government.”