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Biden-backed battery plant relies on tech from CCP-led Chinese firm

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

A U.S. battery maker backed by the Biden administration relies on technology from a Chinese Communist Party-led company, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review of Chinese media reports.

The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded KORE Power, a U.S.-based battery firm, an $850 million loan in early June to construct its “KOREPlex” battery-cell production facility in Arizona. DOE billed the loan as part of the administration’s efforts to “onshore [electric vehicle] supply chains.” However, KOREPlex will rely on technology from the firm’s long-time Chinese manufacturing partner, Do-Flouride New Materials (DFD), DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO) Director Jigar Shah said in an interview Wednesday.

“In this deal that we most recently announced two weeks ago, KORE, it’s an American company … they’ve been around for a long time, but they are using technology from a Chinese company, DFD, to manufacture battery cells in Arizona,” Shah said. However, Shah did not mention the Chinese company in question has ties to the CCP.

The Central Committee of the CCP honored DFD’s chairman, Li Shijiang, in 2021 as an “Outstanding Communist Party Member,
according to Chinese news outlet Xinhua News Agency. Shijiang had previously been honored in 2019 as one of nineteen “Outstanding Veterans of the Year” of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to Chinese military news outlet PLA Daily.

Xue Xujin, who currently serves in DFD’s executive leadership as a deputy general manager, according to Reuters, is also listed as a member of the CCP in DFD’s 2016 annual report.

DFD’s internal Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee was named to the “National Advanced Grassroots Party Organization” in July 2016, an honor given to “outstanding” organizations affiliated with the CCP, according to Chinese-language news outlet Henan Daily.

Party committees, also known as cells, have grown in prominence in recent years as a way for the CCP to ensure that corporate governance stays in line with what the government describes as “Chinese characteristics,” according to Nikkei Asia.

DFD’s party secretary Han Shjiun, upon receiving the 2016 award, said that it was necessary to integrate party-building work into the core aspects of the company to ensure optimal performance, Henan Daily reported. DFD republished on its website a December 2022 Henan Daily article praising the company’s innovation and leadership. The article attributes DFD’s success to its embrace of the CCP’s “spirit.”

The company also won the National Science and Technology Progress Award — which the CCP awards to “citizens and organizations” for their “outstanding contributions” to science — in 2017, according to DFD’s website.

DFD grew out of a state-owned company called Jiaozuo Cryolite Factory, according to Henan Daily. The chemical company operates in international markets and primarily manufactures and distributes fluoride products, according to Reuters.

The company serves as the primary manufacturer of KORE’s Mark 1 battery. The “assembly lines and processes for battery manufacturing” DFD uses will form the technological backbone of KORE’s new U.S.-based facility, according to a 2019 press release. Far from replacing the Chinese manufacturer with the U.S. facility, KOREPlex will serve to “augment” the production of the company’s Chinese partner.

These substantial ties to the Chinese government and CCP seem to conflict with Shah’s assertion that the LPO “rejected outright” any deal with companies that are “tied to an authoritarian state.” Shah even cited the relationship between KORE and DFD as an example of a relationship that did not meet that standard during his RFF interview.

President Joe Biden described Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” just one day prior to Shah’s own comments.

The LPO began issuing increasingly large loans to companies after its lending authority was massively expanded by Biden’s signature climate law. The LPO announced Thursday a record-breaking $9.2 billion loan to a joint electric vehicle venture run by Ford and Korean firm SK On. Shah said the loan was part of the administration’s efforts to bolster U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing.

KORE, DFD and the DOE did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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