A California-based energy company that proposed building a Michigan electric vehicle battery plant has been outed as a Chinese foreign principal.
Gotion, Inc. proposes building a $2.4 billion factory to produce anodes and cathodes on a 260-acre site in Mecosta County’s Big Rapids, according to a report from Politico.
The report notes the factory’s construction would reportedly create 2,350 jobs with average wages of $29.42 per hour.
Gotion Inc., headquartered in Fremont, California, has been at the center of discussions among Republican politicians and Michigan residents due to concerns about possible Chinese Communist Party influence.
The contoversy began after the company announced intentions to build a multibillion-dollar facility with the backing of Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The California corporation’s parent company, Gotion High-Tech, is based in Hefei City, China, according to a report from Fox News.
“The rumors that you’ve heard about us bringing communism to North America are just flat-out fear-mongering and really have nothing based in reality,” Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s North American manufacturing vice president said.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes claimed Michigan GOP “extremists” are promoting conspiracies to block the thousands of good-paying, American jobs the factory would bring to the state.
“These racially motivated attacks on Gotion hurt the same communities that these members claim to represent and advocate for, and Michiganders will see through them,” Barnes said, UpNorthLive reported.
The battery maker revealed in an April 21 Foreign Agents Registration Act filing that Gotion, Inc. is “wholly owned and controlled” by the China-based Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co. Ltd.
Despite Whitmer’s endorsement, concerns about Gotion’s Chinese ownership and its connections to the CCP have persisted.
The corporate bylaws of Gotion High-Tech reveal the company is required to “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China,” according to the Fox report.
Further adding to the debate, Fox News Digital reported in June that Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin and a senior staffer had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. This agreement allowed them access to discussions about Gotion’s proposed battery factory in Big Rapids. Following an extensive national security review, the Biden administration approved the project in the same month.
Legislators have also expressed concerns about the proposed plant’s proximity to U.S. military bases.
The facility’s location is within 60 miles of military armories and 100 miles from Camp Grayling, the largest U.S. National Guard training facility.
The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that the Michigan National Guard trains Taiwanese soldiers at Camp Grayling during annual military exercises.