(Reuters) -China will scrutinize Ford Motor Co’s latest deal with battery giant CATL to ensure the Chinese company’s core technology is not shared with the U.S. automaker, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
Beijing is concerned the Detroit carmaker could gain access to the competitive aspects of CATL’s technology, but the scrutiny is unlikely to result in the agreement being blocked, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
“We are not aware of any outreach by Chinese government officials on this matter,” a Ford spokeswoman said. CATL could not be reached outside market hours.
Senior Chinese leaders asked for the extra scrutiny given the sensitivity of the deal and the current state of tensions between Washington and Beijing, the report said.
Ford on Monday announced plans to invest $3.5 billion to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan, with help from CATL’s technology.
Under the deal, CATL – short for Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd – will license the technology and technical assistance needed for Ford to produce lithium iron phosphate batteries in Michigan.
Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday asked the Biden administration to review Ford’s deal to use technology from Chinese battery company CATL as part of the automaker’s plan to spend $3.5 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on Thursday said Manchin “has been clear about his grave concerns about vehicle supply chain reliance on China. Ford has serious questions to answer before Senator Manchin can fully evaluate the business partnership.”
Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Christopher Cushing and David Gregorio