In 2023, Reeves restricted government business with China.  Today, he is seeking government funding for a Chinese company.

In 2023, Reeves restricted government business with China. Today, he is seeking government funding for a Chinese company.

In 2023, Governor Tate Reeves dismissed Chinese technology as an “accidental threat” and signed bills limiting what Mississippi could do with China.

In a special session today, he is asking Mississippi lawmakers to send millions in state taxpayer funds to a Chinese tech company to seal an economic development deal.

A China-based technology company is one of four companies awaiting legislative approval of Reeves’ proposed state incentive package to build a $1.9 billion Mississippi plant to make electric batteries to power commercial trucks.

READ MORE: Reeves asks lawmakers to commit $350 million in state funding to Marshall County EV battery contract

Bill Cork, the director of Reeves’ Mississippi Development Authority, confirmed to members of the Mississippi House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday that each of the three major commercial vehicle companies will own 30% of the company’s shares, while the Chinese company will provide the shares. battery production technology for commercial vehicles, will have 10%.

Cork made the presentation before a special meeting Thursday called by Reeves, who is asking the Legislature to allocate nearly $350 million in state incentives to entice companies to locate their projects in Marshall County, near the Tennessee state line.

Cork said he could not release the names of the companies involved in the project until the Legislature passes the incentive package. But after direct questioning by a Ways and Means member, Cork confirmed that the technology provider was a reputable Chinese company.

In an article published in the Jan. 11 trade journal Transport Topics, Eve Energy Co. article was published because American companies do not provide similar technology.

Other companies involved in the deal are Paccar Inc., Cummins Truck Holdings and Daimler Truck Holdings, according to media reports.

Cork told committee members: “Each of you has a cell phone with a Chinese-made battery. No MP objected at the meeting.

After further questioning from Ways and Means Chairman Trey Lamar, Republican of Senatobia, Cork said the other three companies would be responsible for paying the state if their commitment to provide 2,000 jobs was not met. He said all three companies would be responsible for paying one-third instead of trying to buy from the Chinese company.

The Reeves administration’s reliance on a Chinese company to secure the Marshall County electric battery contract contradicts the governor’s recent messages. In 2023, lawmakers passed two bills limiting Mississippi’s ties to China: One that would bar Mississippi state agencies from purchasing small aircraft systems or drones made by Chinese technology companies, and another that would ban the TikTok app from state devices.

When signing the bills last year, Reeves said, “The Chinese Communist Party is no friend of Mississippi or the United States. They want to use weaknesses in technology to harm our country and our citizens. We will not allow this to happen in Mississippi, and that is why I signed these two bills into law. It’s time for our country to wake up and recognize the existential threat posed to Americans by the Chinese Communist Party and other bad actors around the world. We put the safety of Mississippians first, and if that means you can’t use TikTok and other compromised technologies on government devices or buy Chinese-made drones, so be it.

At a House committee hearing Wednesday, Cork also answered general questions about electric vehicles, a controversial technology among many national Republican politicians. Prominent GOP politicians across the country and in Mississippi have decried the emergence of electric vehicles, defending the fossil fuel industry and bemoaning the federal government’s push for green energy.

Cork said on Wednesday that several companies are planning to open electric car battery plants in America. He said MDA tried to recruit some of those companies to Mississippi, but in the end, many wanted more incentives than the state was willing to offer. He said he was confident the state would partner with companies working on commercial vehicles.

“The trucking companies will figure out how to make this work,” Cork said. “If they don’t, they’ll refund us.”

Cork also confirmed to the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday that the project will need federal approval because some of the unnamed companies involved in the project are owned by foreign companies. Of the four companies said to be part of the deal, Daimler is based in Germany and Eve Energy is based in China.

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