Rep. Gimenez introduces legislation prohibiting purchase of lithium-ion batteries from China

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On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) introduced legislation that would prevent the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from purchasing batteries from six companies owned and operated by the People’s Republic of China.

The Decoupling from Foreign Adversarial Battery Dependence Act, Gimenez, chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security, said, would also push efforts to decouple the supply chain from one of the country’s geopolitical adversaries. The legislation would prohibit DHS from procuring batteries and lithium-ion batteries from Contemporary Amperex Technology Company, Ltd. (CATL); BYD Company, Ltd; Envision Energy, Ltd; EVE Energy Company, Ltd; Hithium Energy Storage Technology company, Ltd; and Gotion High-Tech Company, Ltd.

China currently produces about 80 percent of the world’s batteries and about 70 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries, according to the congressman’s office. CATL is the world’s largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and a major actor in the global electric vehicle market.

Some fear CATL could install malware on EVs, which could result in the company gathering information about the car’s owners. Others fear the malware could possibly lead to a shutdown of EV charging networks or battery energy storage systems or even disable targeted vehicles through hardware infiltration. Last year, reports indicated that CATL installed its batteries at facilities in Florida, Virginia, Nevada, and California, as well as on a solar farm inside U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The energy-storage batteries produced by CATL at the Marine base camp have since been decommissioned following pressure from Congress.

“The West was far too late to recognize the threat of Huawei, TikTok, and PRC-manufactured cranes installed at America’s seaports,” Gimenez said. “We know that doing business in China means enriching the CCP––and that comes at a steep cost, even if there are perceived short-term benefits. America must be proactive in addressing the threats posed by the CCP to our technology, information, and way of life.”

The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN), Committee Chairman; August Pfluger (R-TX), member of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Chairman; and John Moolenaar (R-MI), chair of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

“American tax dollars should never be used to further the Chinese Communist Party’s hopes to dominate key technologies at our expense,” Moolenaar said. “That’s why I am proud to co-sponsor the Decoupling from Foreign Adversarial Battery Dependence Act, which would stop the Department of Homeland Security from using American taxpayer dollars to purchase Gotion, CATL, or other Chinese batteries. Our military has already banned these batteries, and DHS should do the same.”