Note: According to Reuters' sources, CATL is pressing ahead with plans to deliver lower-cost lithium iron batteries to Ford Motor Co. and with plans for battery production in North America by 2026.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), the biggest battery maker for electric vehicles and a supplier of Tesla, among others, is postponing the announcement of a multi-billion investment in North America as the U.S.-Chinese relations further soured with the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
CATL was prepared to announce plans for an EV battery manufacturing site in North America, but has now delayed that announcement, sources with knowledge of the developments have told Bloomberg.
After days of speculation, the U.S. House Speaker did visit Taiwan on Tuesday in the highest-level U.S. visit to Taiwan in 25 years. China, which claims Taiwan, slammed the visit, saying that "It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for "Taiwan independence".
"China firmly opposes and sternly condemns this, and has made serious démarche and strong protest to the United States," the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.
Following the new low in U.S.-China relations, CATL is now reportedly holding off on the announcement. CATL is headquartered in Fujian, across the Taiwan Strait from the island.
The Chinese battery maker was in advanced stages of discussions over the site and has been considering sites in the U.S. and at least two other plants in Mexico near Texas. The initial plan was to issue the announcement within the coming weeks, but CATL will likely wait until next month or October due to concerns over U.S.-China relations in the wake of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, Bloomberg's sources said.
Pelosi's trip to Taiwan included meetings with leaders and was met on Wednesday with another reprimanding statement from China, whose Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that "those who play with fire will not come to a good end, and those who offend China will be punished," per the BBC.
"The United States is violating China's sovereignty under the guise of so-called democracy," the Chinese minister added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com