Governor Glenn Youngkin blocked Virginia from consideration for a battery plant to supply Ford Motor Company amid concerns about the technology supplied by a Chinese company, he told reporters on Wednesday.
In a press gaggle, Youngkin criticized a clean energy push that relied on technology “owned and dominated by the Chinese.”
“Well, we in fact felt that the recent efforts to put forward a Ford plant that would house Chinese technology to build the batteries was in fact representative of that. And that we felt the right thing to do was to not recruit Ford as a front for China to America. Let’s develop our own technology,” Youngkin said after his State of the Commonwealth speech.
Youngkin’s comments came after an anonymous source gave an exclusive to The Daily Caller in December.
“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 said, according to The Caller. “Ultimately, Virginia is removing itself from any possibilities of the CATL [Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd] plant being established due to concerns surrounding the deal.”
During his Wednesday speech, Youngkin highlighted several concerns related to China, including calls for legislators to ban social media from selling data from minors, and to ban selling farmland to entities linked to the Communist Party of China. Youngkin also highlighted major economic development wins for Virginia, including Boeing and Raytheon’s relocations to the Commonwealth.
The former CEO has made economic development a regular source of news from his office, and his budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session includes a push to make Virginia more attractive to outside businesses, with items including a cut to the business tax rate. Additionally, Youngkin’s rejection of the battery plant comes as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has announced major electric automotive manufacturing expansions from Korean brands Hyundai and Kia; Georgia is one of the southern states Youngkin has designated as benchmarks for economic performance.
At the gaggle, reporters asked about Youngkin’s policy on investments with China while he was co-CEO of Carlyle.
“I think I’m uniquely positioned to understand how the Chinese Communist Party works. I dealt with them,” Youngkin said. “I’ve dealt with them, and I understand what they’re doing. They have one objective: global dominance at the expense of the United States.”
Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) said Wednesday that Youngkin’s comments on China sounded like talking points for a potential presidential run.
Responding to news about Youngkin’s rejection of the battery plant, Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) tweeted, “Glenn Youngkin’s race to match Ron DeSantis anti-China crusade just cost Virginia potential advanced manufacturing jobs.”
– – –