Chinese battery suppliers tied to Ford, VW should be banned, GOP lawmakers say

Batteries for VW electric vehicles were on display in March at a Gotion High-Tech production facility in Hefei, China. PHOTO: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS
Batteries for VW electric vehicles were on display in March at a Gotion High-Tech production facility in Hefei, China. PHOTO: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG NEWS


A group of lawmakers call for CATL and Gotion to be added to an import ban list over alleged forced labor in their supply chains.

Leading Chinese battery companies with ties to Ford Motor and Volkswagen should be banned from shipping goods to the U.S., a group of Republican lawmakers said, alleging their supply chains use forced labor.

Contemporary Amperex Technology, the world’s largest maker of batteries for electric cars and a partner to Ford, and Gotion High-Tech, a battery company partially owned by Volkswagen, should be added immediately to an import ban list, the lawmakers said in two letters sent to the Biden administration, which are scheduled to be released publicly on Thursday.

The lawmakers called for Contemporary Amperex, also known as CATL, and Gotion to be added to what is known as the entity list under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The letters sent to Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Robert Silvers came from Rep. John Moolenaar, head of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party; Rep. Mark Green, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; Sen. Marco Rubio; and others.

CATL, Gotion, Ford and Volkswagen didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Ningde, China-based CATL has previously called geopolitics a “transitory issue" and indicated it is prepared to ride out tensions as it focuses on expanding in the U.S. Gotion, based in Hefei, China, has described the geopolitical situation as “explosive." Volkswagen has said in the past that it sets high standards and is looking at new solutions to prevent forced labor in its supply chain.

The call for action further complicates already challenging efforts by CATL and Gotion to establish themselves stateside. Though the U.S. and other countries have pushed for wider adoption of electric cars, Chinese clean energy manufacturers have faced an uphill battle to win support for projects.

CATL licenses technology to Ford. Ford paused and then scaled back plans to build a $3.5 billion battery plant in Michigan using CATL technology, moves that came after Republican-led committees opened investigations. The lawmakers argued that the project would enable Chinese domination of the U.S. auto industry. Gotion, which has a significant investment from Volkswagen’s China unit, plans its own factory in Michigan, but that project too has faced scrutiny.

Being added to the entity list, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security, would be a major hurdle for the companies’ U.S. aspirations.

The entity list designates businesses the U.S. believes are involved in the use of forced labor from China’s Xinjiang region, the home to the Uyghur people and other minority groups. Though the U.S. effectively bans the import of all goods linked to Xinjiang under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the entity list flags specific known companies and is meant to stop forced labor-tied imports from slipping through the cracks.

Gotion’s and CATL’s supply chains are “deeply compromised" because of links to Xinjiang, the lawmakers said. China has repeatedly denied claims of human rights abuses in the region.

The lawmakers said CATL and Gotion have links to the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary organization in Xinjiang that the U.S. has sanctioned and added to the entity list.

Volkswagen saw a number of its vehicles held up at U.S. ports after it reported they contained a component from a company on the entity list. The company also has faced repeated criticism from lawmakers over a Xinjiang factory the company jointly owns with a Chinese state-owned company.

Write to Richard Vanderford at

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