Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin told Ford thanks, but no thanks for its proposal to build a $3.5 billion battery plant over the car maker’s partnership with China.
The plant, proposed for Pittsylvania County in the southwestern part of Old Dominion, would have made lithium iron phosphate batteries for electric vehicles and employed as many as 2,500 workers. The company hoped to build on a county-owned, 3,500-acre site called Berry Hill that Virginia has been developing and marketing for industry before the Republican governor scuttled the deal last month.
“We felt that the right thing to do was to not recruit Ford as a front for China to America,” Youngkin said last week after delivering his State of the Commonwealth speech to the General Assembly. It was the first time Youngkin had publicly discussed the decision.
Youngkin stands against communist China but Whitmer is “vying” for the business.
Whitmer has never understood economic development which has led to massive job losses and an exodus from Michigan. She courts the CCP out of desperation. https://t.co/yp3eJL0LTb
— Tudor Dixon (@TudorDixon) January 18, 2023
Ford’s partner in the project was to be the Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology.
Democratic state lawmakers blasted Youngkin for spurning the deal and accused the first-term governor of bashing China to further his potential White House ambitions. Youngkin has not indicated he is contemplating a 2024 White House bid, but his stunning 2021 victory in the key blue state drew national attention.
“To deny [people in the community] jobs because you’re in last place in Republican presidential primaries [is] gubernatorial malpractice,” Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I mean, this is clearly just obvious to me that the governor’s in some kind of out-China-bashing-contest with [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis and Governor Greg Abbott out of Texas.”
Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said Ford’s partner is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and was therefore not welcome in the state.
“While Ford is an iconic American company, it became clear that this proposal would serve as a front for the Chinese Communist party, which could compromise our economic security and Virginians’ personal privacy,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Virginians can be confident that companies with known ties to the Chinese Communist Party won’t receive a leg up from the Commonwealth’s economic incentive packages. When the potentially damaging effects of the deal were realized, the plant proposal never reached a final discussion stage.”
Ford is now believed to be considering building the plant in Michigan.