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  • Philip Osadebay - Tech Journalist

US prevent Chinese companies and battery components from obtaining electric vehicle tax credits

On the transformative journey of electric vehicles, the Biden administration recently unveiled guidelines. These guidelines, set to take effect next year, strategically limit the inclusion of Chinese content in electric vehicle batteries eligible for tax credits.

A noteworthy win for automakers, the U.S. Treasury has decided to grant temporary exemptions for specific trace critical minerals. These exemptions come as a relief bypassing strict rules that would have barred materials from China and other nations designated as "Foreign Entities of Concern" (FEOC).

Mandated by an August 2022 law, these new rules carry significant implications for the U.S. electric vehicle battery chain. Aimed at reducing dependence on China, they are closely monitored by automakers who are in the midst of making critical investment decisions for the production of batteries, marking a shift towards electric vehicles.

Scheduled to come into effect in 2024 for completed batteries and 2025 for critical minerals used in their production, the FEOC rules have stirred considerable attention.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a key representative of major automakers, applauds the decision to exempt trace materials for a two-year period, deeming it both significant and well-advised. This exemption, they argue, prevents a scenario where nearly all vehicles could be rendered ineligible.

General Motors expresses confidence in maintaining consumer purchase incentives for its electric vehicles beyond 2024. On the other hand, Ford Motor has been awaiting this guidance to assess the impact on its licensing agreement with Chinese battery maker CATL, particularly in connection with the planned Michigan battery plant.

However, not everyone is in favor of these exemptions. Republican Senator Marco Rubio criticizes the decision, alleging that the administration prioritizes "EV special interest groups ahead of America's interests."

 The Energy Department outlines criteria for entities deemed FEOC, including ownership or control by specific foreign governments. Companies will also be ineligible if an entity of concern holds a substantial stake in their governance.

Expected to narrow the pool of electric vehicles eligible for tax credits, these rules follow the earlier implementation of requirements making any vehicle ineligible if not assembled in North America. 

Senator Joe Manchin condemns the Treasury for allowing trace critical minerals from China to qualify, vowing to challenge this proposed rule and protect energy security.

Despite the critiques, the Treasury aims to facilitate compliance for automakers with clean supply chains through an expedited method until the rules are finalized. 


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