news youngkin dinged on china told ford motor co to take their 2500 jobs and shove it
Perspectives

Youngkin, dinged on China, told Ford Motor Co. to take their 2,500 jobs and shove it

glenn youngkin
(© Chirag Nagpal – Shutterstock)

Ford Motor Co. told Virginia that it had selected a site for a new $3.5 billion battery plant that would bring 2,500 jobs to Southside, but Glenn Youngkin said no, because he’s running for president – as if, right? – and he wants to look tough on China.

That’s the gist of a story reported in the Times-Dispatch on Thursday, which the governor’s office is vigorously denying.

The T-D cites two unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation in its reporting, which is that Ford had informed Virginia that it had selected a Pittsylvania County megasite to locate an electric battery plant.

Youngkin is only willing to concede that Ford had expressed interest in Virginia, and that he cut the company off at the pass because the carmaker is working with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., a Chinese company, on the project.

A Ford spokesperson confirmed to Virginia Mercury last week that the auto company has an agreement in place with CATL to explore possible cooperation for supplying batteries for Ford vehicles in markets across North America, Europe and China, but has nothing concrete in place beyond that exploration.

Bloomberg reported last month that Ford and CATL have been weighing an ownership structure under which Ford would own 100 percent of a future U.S.-based battery plant, including the building and the infrastructure, while CATL would operate the factory and own the technology to build the cells.

The idea behind this kind of arrangement would be to allow the facility to qualify for production tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act while requiring no direct financial investment from CATL.

Youngkin, in his State of the Commonwealth address last week, made sure to come across as borderline obsessed about China, trying to look tough, issuing a dire warning on “the ever-growing threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to our national security, our privacy and our way of life in Virginia,” and advising that “Virginians should also be wary of Chinese Communist intrusion into Virginia’s economy.”

The idea that CATL is a front for the Chinese Community Party is assuming some things on the part of Youngkin, who tried in an interview with the T-D to hide his efforts to squash the project behind the vagaries of the economic development process.

“The fact is, of course, that Ford investigated this site, and how their interest stacked up against any other site was clearly yet to be determined because we had not even submitted an incentive package,” he told the paper.

This is Youngkin assuming that Ford wasn’t assuming that it would get something reasonable from Virginia in terms of an economic incentive package when it made whatever decision it made to pick the Pittsylvania County site.

You know, we’re committing $3.5 billion, we’re going to bring 2,500 jobs to an economically depressed part of your state that has spent $200 million on the megasite that we’re looking at, with no takers to date.

If we ask for some things, you’ll give them to us, to make this happen.

This is how big business is done.

Unless your governor thinks he’s running for president, and he’s been needled by Donald Trump for having a “Chinese sounding” last name.

Because he thinks he’s going to be on a debate stage later this year, and he doesn’t want to have to hear Trump pick on him about China, he turned down 2,500 jobs and $3.5 billion in investment.

This guy’s one term can’t end soon enough.

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP. Want to reach me? Try [email protected].