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Ford Is Investing $3.5 Billion in EV Battery Plant With Chinese Firm



(Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. is investing $3.5 billion in an electric-vehicle battery plant in southwest Michigan that it will operate with technology and support from a Chinese battery maker that has stirred political controversy.

The factory near Marshall, Michigan, will employ 2,500 workers, Ford said Monday, confirming a Feb. 10 Bloomberg report. The facility is set to open in 2026 and will produce enough batteries to power 400,000 EVs a year.

The US automaker will be contracting the battery know-how from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd, which will help set up the plant and have staff there. Ford said it will own and operate the factory and set up a wholly owned subsidiary to run it. CATL is the world’s largest EV battery maker.

“Ford has control — control over the manufacturing, control over the production, control over the workforce,” Lisa Drake, Ford’s vice president of EV industrialization, said in a briefing with reporters. “We’re licensing that technology from CATL.”


The arrangement, aimed at securing tax benefits for the plant, has drawn criticism at a time of heightened geopolitical tension between the US and China, notably uproar over a Chinese balloon that flew over America. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin pulled his state from consideration as a location for the factory, calling it a “Trojan horse” for the Chinese Communist Party.

What the Balloon Saga Tells Us About China’s Spying: QuickTake

“It’s very regrettable that Governor Youngkin had some misinformation,” Drake said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “We hope through today’s media announcement that it was very clear that Ford has control of the plant.”

It comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken may meet with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi at a security conference later this week, Bloomberg reported, in what would be their first face-to-face talks since the balloon fallout.

CATL staff will help with the installation of factory equipment to build the batteries, some of which will come from China, Drake said. And some of that personnel from CATL will remain at the Michigan factory permanently because “we need their help,” Drake said.

The United Auto Workers said in a statement that it expects the plant to create “good-paying union jobs.”

Ford’s shares rose 2.7% at 3:54 p.m. in New York. The stock was up 9.5% this year through Friday’s close.

‘Battery Independence’

At a ceremony Monday in Michigan to announce the factory, Executive Chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of founder Henry Ford, characterized his company’s relationship with the Chinese battery maker as a way to foster American autonomy in building EV batteries, which now come primarily from Asia.

“Manufacturing these batteries in America will bring us closer to battery independence,” Ford said. CATL will “help us get up to speed so we can build these batteries ourselves.”

Drake wouldn’t say if Ford invited President Joe Biden to the ceremony. The Information reported Biden declined an invitation to join Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Bill Ford and Ford CEO Jim Farley at the announcement.

“We’ve certainly appreciated the White House and the administration’s support on the project so far,” Drake said.

CATL is providing the technology for lithium iron phosphate batteries, which are less expensive and will make Ford’s EV lineup more affordable, Drake said. The plant will be the first in the US to produce so-called LFP batteries.

Ford will begin offering LFP batteries in its Mustang Mach-E model later this year and in its F-150 Lightning plug-in pickup truck next year. Initially, those batteries will be imported from China. Tesla Inc. and Honda Motor Co. also have contracts with CATL to import LFP batteries for their EV models.

The Michigan factory, which will be located about 100 miles west of Detroit, will have the annual capacity to produce 35 gigawatt hours of LFP batteries, enough to provide power sources for 400,000 Ford models a year, Drake said. That will represent about one-fifth of the EV output of 2 million vehicles Ford is targeting annually by late 2026. Ford is spending $50 billion to develop and build EVs through 2026.

Margin Goal

By outfitting so much of its electric lineup with more affordable batteries, that will help the automaker achieve the sales volume it needs to reach its goal of an 8% margin on earnings before interest and taxes on EVs by 2026, Drake said.

Ford currently loses money on its EV lineup, which helped contribute to disappointing earnings last year that likely will lead to expanded job cuts.

Ford believes the batteries produced at the factory will quality for full production tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year that seeks to encourage domestic production of EVs and batteries.

However, consumers purchasing Ford EVs with the batteries produced at the Michigan plant will not be eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit, according to Marin Gjaja, head of sales and marketing for Ford’s EV business. Rather, they’ll qualify for a $3,750 credit because the vehicle is built in the US, but the battery materials are not locally sourced. Commercial customers and lessors will qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit, Gjaja said.

“I think over time we’ll see if we’ll qualify for the full $7,500 based on the mineral sourcing and that’s something that the team continues to work on,” Gjaja told reporters.


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Canada eases some rules around foreign homebuyers ban – Global News



The federal government announced amendments to the foreign homebuyer ban on Monday that eases some restrictions for non-Canadians, including newcomers to the country.

Read more:

Foreign buyers ban won’t fix housing market – could make it worse, experts say


The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act was passed by Parliament in June 2022 and came into force on the first day of 2023.

Under that law, non-citizens, non-permanent residents, and foreign commercial enterprises were blocked from purchasing Canadian homes — with some exceptions for international students and temporary residents. Those who violate the ban face a $10,000 fine and may have to sell the offending property.

The amendments will now allow some non-Canadians to purchase residential property in certain circumstances in order to help add to Canada’s housing supply, according to a statement from the ministry of housing.

Effective immediately, work permit holders or those authorized to work in Canada can now purchase a home to live in while working in the country. Work permit holders must have 183 days or more of validity remaining on the permit at the time of the purchase, and cannot purchase more than one residential property, according to the statement.

Click to play video: 'New Federal Foreign Buyers Rules'

New Federal Foreign Buyers Rules

The ban will also now not apply to vacant land zoned for residential and mixed-use, so non-Canadians can purchase such land with the potential of using it for residential development.

There will also now be an exception to allow non-Canadians, as well as publicly traded entities formed in Canada but controlled by a non-Canadian, to purchase residential property for the purpose of development.

In addition, the government will consider a privately-held corporation or entity to be foreign if a non-Canadian owns up to 10 per cent of its equity, up from three per cent.

“These amendments will allow newcomers to put down roots in Canada through home ownership and businesses to create jobs and build homes by adding to the housing supply in Canadian cities,” Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen said in a statement in CMHC’s release.

“These amendments strike the right balance in ensuring that housing is used to house those living in Canada, rather than a speculative investment by foreign investors.”

Read more:

Will recreational homes be more affordable in 2023? Report predicts prices will dip

More on Canada

Canada has been accepting record numbers of immigrants into the country, and the ban was previously criticized by some experts for not allowing them to purchase homes.

The foreign homebuyers ban was put in place to limit foreign investment in property that potentially could be taking away homes for Canadians, according to Hussen.

However, the policy has been criticized for not being the right approach to tackling housing affordability.

Elton Ash, ReMax executive president for Western Canada, told Global News in January that non-Canadian homeowners don’t make up a significant amount of real estate transactions.

“I can tell you with full confidence, (the ban) will have zero effect on house prices,” he said.

— with files from Global News’ Kathryn Mannie

Click to play video: 'Canadian real estate ban on foreign investors'

Canadian real estate ban on foreign investors

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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A Game-Changing Factor to Job Search: Your Ability to Make Human Connections



human connections

This column will be a departure from my usual job-searching topics to focus on something crucial to a successful job search and your career momentum, especially when networking and interviewing: making human connections.

“The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” – Tom Ford, American fashion designer.

Genuine human connections lead to positive energy exchange and trust building. Since most job search activities involve interacting with people, projecting positive energy and being seen as trustworthy greatly benefits you.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the most essential needs we must fulfill, besides food, water, and safety. We are more fulfilled when our needs for love and belonging are met.


We live busy lives, juggling work, family responsibilities, self-care, side hustles, and more. Therefore, often our social connections fall by the wayside. You might not think connecting with others is important, but it is. Social connections can lower anxiety and depression, help regulate emotions, increase self-esteem and empathy, and improve your immune system. These are huge pluses when job hunting.

Sadly, we live in a time when there is a great deal of disconnection. While technology gives the appearance we are more connected than ever, the screens around us disconnect us from nature, ourselves, and those around us. Rather than using technology, especially social media, to enhance our human connections, we use it to replace them.

Being brave, proactive, and taking chances is often required to make human connections. Striking up a conversation with a stranger can be intimidating, requiring you to step out of your comfort zone. Your lowest-hanging fruit is to reconnect with current friends and family. Then venture out and try new activities, such as joining a club or taking classes, to meet people to build a relationship with.

Putting yourself out there will ultimately pay off in the form of a rewarding feeling that comes from building human connections. Here are six simple ways you can create human connections.


  1. Surround yourself with people with shared interests.

It is easy to bond with people who share your interests and hobbies. Identifying commonalities between your interviewer and yourself is the most straightforward way to bond with your interviewer, which will give you a competitive advantage.

Do you love reading? Join a local book club. Are you a runner? Join a running club. Go where people who share your interests and beliefs are, such as clubs, volunteering, sports, taking classes, church, or sitting on an advisory board.


  1. Overcome your resistance.

Building relationships is often intimidating because of a natural fear of rejection. However, to make human connections, you must overcome your limiting beliefs causing your resistance to change, and embrace situations outside your comfort zone.

The best way I know how to lower your anxiety when meeting new people is to remember showing interest is a massive gesture to anyone you meet. Therefore ask open-ended questions about the other person and make your discussion all about them.

TIP: When meeting someone for the first time, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?”


  1. Smile and give off a positive attitude.

People prefer positive emotions to negative ones when forming a social connection; therefore, first impressions count.

A positive demeanor and a genuine smile will naturally draw people to you. Before spending time with others, I find doing a gratitude exercise and taking a few minutes to reflect on the good things in my life helpful in creating a positive attitude.

Putting your best self forward will maximize your chances of being a people magnet.


  1. Open up.

If you want to make friends more easily, allow yourself to be more vulnerable with others. This does not mean dropping all filters or boundaries. Too much, too soon, can put people off. On the other hand, you do not want to be an overly edited version of yourself and thus come across as not being authentic.

People can sense whether or not someone is genuine, so let them see the most authentic version of you. Your vulnerability will also prompt them to feel comfortable around you and connect with you on a deeper level.


  1. Do not hide behind your phone.

In social situations where you are uncomfortable, hiding behind your phone is easy, preventing you from making real-life connections.

Being on your phone during a party or networking event makes you less approachable. Whenever you are out, focus on being present and engaging with the people around you.


  1. Stay in touch.

Human connections need to be nurtured. Regular contact deepens your connections.

If you make a new friend, keep in touch with them and grow your friendship. Likewise, maintain your existing relationships with friends, family, and colleagues by keeping in touch.

Making and maintaining human connections is an activity you should prioritize if for no other reason than the fact that opportunities (e.g., jobs, friendships, love) exist all around you; the only caveat is they are connected to people. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you will be exposed to.



Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to

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First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank



North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.

The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.

Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.

European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.


Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of by rival UBS.

In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.

In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.

New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.

The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.

The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.


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