Despite backing Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Gotion Inc. has been controversial since it announced intentions to build a multi-billion dollar plant.
Gotion High-Tech, the company’s parent, is based in the Chinese city of Hefei. North American manufacturing vice president at Gotion, Chuck Thelen, has tried to allay fears by claiming that worries about CCP are unfounded. Michigan Democrats have brushed away CCP fears as Republican scare tactics.
According to FARA filings, Gotion Inc. registered as a Chinese foreign principal on April 21. The paperwork indicates that the U.S. company is “wholly owned and controlled” by Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy Co., Ltd. of China. To be clear, Gotion Inc. is not owned, operated, or funded by any foreign government or foreign political party, as stated in the filing.
Governor Whitmer said Gotion would spend $2.4 billion to develop a 260-acre site on the state’s upper peninsula, where two 550,000-square-foot manufacturing units and other supporting facilities would be built. Concerns regarding Gotion’s Chinese ownership and links to the CCP have been voiced by Republican politicians, local citizens, and national security specialists ever since. “Conduct out Party activities in line with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China” is a provision of Gotion High-Tech’s articles of incorporation.
Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan’s congressional delegation and a senior aide of hers, signed a non-disclosure agreement in June with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. so that they could participate in discussions over Gotion’s planned electric car battery facility in Big Rapids. The Biden administration gave the project the go-ahead that month after months of deliberation on its impact on national security.
Legislators are worried that Gotion’s planned facility will be too close to American military facilities, and they are also critical of the company’s links to China. The nearest military armories are within 60 miles of the proposed location, while Camp Grayling, the biggest U.S. National Guard training site, is within 100 miles.