The Biggest Winners in America’s Climate Law: Foreign Companies | Kanebridge News
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The Biggest Winners in America’s Climate Law: Foreign Companies

U.S. seeks to build domestic supply chains but needs overseas expertise

By AMRITH RAMKUMAR and Phred Dvorak
Fri, Jul 21, 2023 8:49amGrey Clock 4 min

The 2022 climate law unleashed a torrent of government subsidies to help the U.S. build clean-energy industries. The biggest beneficiaries so far are foreign companies.

The Inflation Reduction Act has spurred nearly $110 billion in U.S. clean-energy projects since it passed almost a year ago, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows. Companies based overseas, largely from South Korea, Japan and China, are involved in projects accounting for more than 60% of that spending. Fifteen of the 20 largest such investments, nearly all in battery factories, involve foreign businesses, the Journal’s analysis shows.

These overseas manufacturers will be able to claim billions of dollars in tax credits, making them among the biggest winners from the climate law. The credits are often tied to production volume, rewarding the largest investors.

Japan’s Panasonic, one of the few companies to publicly estimate the impact of the law, could earn more than $2 billion in tax credits a year based on the capacity of battery plants it is operating or building in Nevada and Kansas. The company, which supplies batteries to electric-vehicle maker Tesla, is considering a third factory in the U.S. that would lift that total.

The climate law is designed to build up domestic supply chains for green-energy industries, but the reality is that the technology for building batteries and renewable-energy equipment resides overseas. The incentives are leading these companies to invest in the U.S., often alongside domestic businesses.

“It’s a testament to the fact that we still live in a globalised economy,” said Aniket Shah, head of environmental, social and corporate governance—or ESG—strategy at investment bank Jefferies. “You can’t just out of nowhere put up borders and say, ‘It has to be made in America by American companies.’ ”

The Journal looked at roughly 210 clean-energy projects and company initiatives spurred by the law, including projects tracked by industry groups American Clean Power and E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs); announcements from companies and state and local governments; and media reports. Of those, about 140 disclosed investment amounts totalling roughly $110 billion.

Projects were characterised as either wholly U.S. ventures or foreign if overseas companies are contributing significant investment or technology. Renewable-power facilities and projects already in the works before the law passed were excluded.

Forecasters estimate the climate law could unleash some $3 trillion in total clean-energy investments over the next decade. U.S. companies are also investing heavily, including Tesla, solar-panel maker First Solar and hydrogen producer Air Products and Chemicals.

Full domestic supply chains for batteries or solar panels are still years away because foreign companies dominate nearly every step in the process, from raw materials to sophisticated parts.

Panasonic is considering the addition of a third battery factory in the U.S. that would increase the Japanese company’s tax-credit haul. PHOTO: JACOB KEPLER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The large investments by overseas businesses have generally been welcomed by U.S. communities, many of which have benefited for decades from spending and jobs created by foreign automakers and other companies. But some investments from Chinese companies have fuelled a backlash as tensions between the two countries escalate.

At least 10 of the projects representing nearly $8 billion in investments included in the Journal’s analysis involve companies either based in China or with substantial ties to China through their core operations or large investors.

Some projects are facing resistance, including two in Michigan: a $3.5 billion battery factory that Ford Motor is building with technology and expertise from China’s CATL; and a $2.4 billion battery-component factory from China-based Gotion. Ford is keeping 100% ownership of the battery factory—in part to sidestep the issue of public funds flowing to CATL, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Ford is licensing the battery-making know-how and services from CATL, the companies said.

But China hawks say the payments Ford makes to CATL mean the Chinese company reaps indirect benefits from government support.

“What we’re seeing is foreign policy conflict with climate policy and trade policy,” Shah said. “We’re going to have to decide as a country what matters more: our enmity with China or our desire to decarbonise quickly.”

Microvast, a startup that was planning to build a more than $500 million battery-component plant in Kentucky, was named as a potential recipient of a $200 million grant from the Energy Department last year. The department later rejected the application. The move followed criticism from Republicans about the company’s ties to China, which include a China subsidiary that accounts for more than 60% of its revenue.

The Energy Department didn’t give a reason for withdrawing the grant. The department takes a number of factors into account when evaluating such projects, including technology risks and the potential for foreign influence, a spokeswoman said.

Microvast, based in Stafford, Texas, says it is a U.S. company and that Chief Executive Yang Wu is an American citizen. The company recently scrapped plans for the Kentucky plant.

“We must be assured that these taxpayer dollars are not being funnelled to the Chinese,” said Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), chair of the House of Representatives committee on energy and commerce, during a June hearing.

Microvast is committed to its goals of investing in the U.S. through other facilities, a spokeswoman said.

The issue is expected to come to a head when the Treasury Department completes rules for electric-car tax credits. The department has proposed that cars using battery materials that were produced by a “foreign entity of concern” such as a Chinese company wouldn’t qualify for tax credits beginning in 2025.

Many expect Treasury to use a loose standard so that some cars qualify, potentially fuelling criticism from some politicians who crafted the climate law such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), who has argued more lenient criteria go against the intent of the Inflation Reduction Act. Treasury is monitoring shifting markets and supply chains while making rules that advance the law’s goals, a spokeswoman said.



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Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Summer TOURISM Plans Unveils New Incentives and Global Attractions

“Saudi Summer is Next Door” plans to boost tourism in the Kingdom over four months across seven destinations.

Wed, May 22, 2024 4 min

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its plan to attract international tourists this summer. The strategy includes appealing visa options, complimentary airline tickets for families, a lineup of major events, and opportunities for tax-free shopping.

The initiative, organized under the guidance of Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), is named “Saudi Summer is Next Door.”

Jeddah

Extensive Summer 2024 Tourism Activities

The initiative will span four months, ending in September, and will be hosted across seven key destinations: Aseer, Al Baha, Taif, the Red Sea, Jeddah, Riyadh, and AlUla.

It features over 550 tourism products and more than 150 specially tailored offers and packages for families and various interest groups including adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and cultural and heritage buffs.

The launch event of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 was attended by notable figures such as Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, in addition to more than 250 key partners from both public and private sectors, prominent media personalities, and influential opinion leaders.

Showcasing Global Events and Cultural Richness

This year’s program will also welcome back the Jeddah Season and introduce the Aseer Season, each filled with various activities and events for families. The Kingdom will host several significant events as part of the summer program, including the first Esports World Cup in Riyadh, an eight-week competition featuring top esports athletes, and various boxing tournaments in Riyadh and Jeddah.

During the event, Al Khateeb highlighted the latest global tourism trends, the Kingdom’s growth in the tourism sector, and the record-high tourist numbers that have propelled Saudi Arabia to the top of the UN World Tourism list and the G20 nations list.

Al Baha

Al Khateeb emphasized, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers. “We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories. “This initiative, supported by our strategic partnerships and groundbreaking efforts like the eVisa and increased flight connectivity, demonstrates our dedication to making Saudi Arabia more accessible and appealing to tourists worldwide. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe to explore and enjoy the vibrant experiences that await them this summer.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also remarked, “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years, which I witnessed during my multiple visits to this hospitable country.”

Riyadh

“Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.”

“All of these great achievements for Saudi tourism would not have been possible without proper planning by those in charge of the sector in the Kingdom and the great potential it possesses in terms of diverse climates, stunning natural landmarks, and the generosity of Saudi people who are distinguished by their hospitality, raising the ceiling of ambitions for new achievements.”

STA CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “While temperatures in the region rise to high levels during summer, temperatures in the highlands of Saudi Arabia in the southern region decrease to the extent that we even witnessed snowfall in Al Soudah yesterday.” “Through the promotional campaign for the Saudi Summer Program 2024, we seek to highlight the uniqueness of our destinations and their climatic, natural, and cultural diversity, along with the exceptional events and activities happening during summer. “This year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers designed in collaboration with STA’s partners, which include attractive offers from hotels, airlines offering free tickets for children in partnership with major travel, tourism, and aviation companies, and exceptional products in the Aseer Season and Jeddah Season like tax-free shopping offers and many new and exciting experiences such as private beaches for tourists and ladies’ beaches.”

“The campaign slogan “Saudi Summer is Next Door” embodies an open invitation to explore the magic of Saudi destinations and their diversity. This diversity is expressed with simple words that reflect the uniqueness of each destination, such as “Closer,” “Cooler,” “More Beautiful,” and “More Affordable.”

The private sector is a very important component of the success of tourism programs and initiatives, and the Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to empowering it by fostering demand for products and offers that align with the aspirations of tourists globally.

The launch of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 marks a period when visiting the Kingdom has become easier, smoother, and safer through measures such as the availability of the eVisa to citizens of 66 countries, a 20 percent reduction in eVisa prices, and a significant increase in the number of weekly flights from

Gulf cities to Saudi summer destinations, now totaling 1,100.

Residents of the GCC can also benefit from the GCC residents visa, which allows them multiple entries and a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom over a year. Moreover, the number of hotel rooms available to travelers is set to increase, with an additional 25,000 rooms expected to be added this year.

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