Alabama’s Muscle Shoals town rejected a proposed factory development project by Gotion Inc., a Chinese electric vehicle battery manufacturer. This decision was based on concerns over national security issues tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
While Alabama refused the project, Gotion found approval in Michigan and Illinois for other battery-related facilities. This article delves into the reasons behind the rejection, the reaction of various states, and Gotion’s response to the allegations.
Rejected Proposal in Muscle Shoals, Alabama:
Gotion Inc., a California-based company linked to the CCP, approached Alabama’s Shoals Economic Development Authority to propose a factory project. However, local officials carefully assessing the proposal ultimately rejected it after uncovering information about Gotion and its affiliations.
The intended project was meant for an abandoned factory site in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with details about the rejection surfacing recently.
National Security Concerns Raised:
Numerous opponents of Gotion’s projects, including former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella and Republican lawmakers, have expressed concerns about the company’s ties to the CCP. Gotion High-Tech, the parent company, exhibits clear connections to the Chinese Communist Party through its corporate bylaws and reports concerning CCP-related activities.
Furthermore, Gotion Inc. was registered as a Chinese foreign principal by a law firm based in Michigan. Critics argue that these affiliations raise potential national security risks.
Gotion has defended its intentions in the United States, highlighting that its parent company is publicly owned and eluding any CCP influence on its operations. The company has chosen not to comment on specific previous proposals, including the one in Alabama.
Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s vice president of North American operations, emphasized the extensive investigation carried out when selecting Michigan and Illinois as their preferred locations for development.
Projects Approved in Michigan and Illinois:
Following an extensive search for suitable locations, Gotion announced a $2.4 billion investment to construct a component factory in Big Rapids, Michigan, in October 2022. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the project, underscoring its significance for Michigan’s position in the electric vehicle industry.
Additionally, Gotion unveiled its plans for a $2 billion battery cell facility in Manteno, Illinois, in September 2022, which gained support from Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker, who provided favorable taxpayer-funded incentives.
The rejection of Gotion Inc.’s proposed project in Alabama due to concerns regarding national security and its connections to the CCP exemplifies the heightened scrutiny surrounding foreign investments. While Alabama took a cautious stance, other states, such as Michigan and Illinois, offered their approval, signaling a continued pursuit of investment opportunities within the electric vehicle industry.