General Motors Co. agreed to deepen cooperation with its flagship Chinese partner on development of electric vehicle knowhow amid pressure from Beijing to hand over proprietary technology.
Investments and other details of the plan were not provided, and it was unclear if the agreement was the result of a renewed push by China to acquire advanced technology its own automakers still lack.
U.S. lawmakers have complained that China is shaking down GM to get the technology that drives the Chevrolet Volt electric car. GM plans to start selling the Volt in China by the end of the year, but its prospects are iffy because it doesn’t qualify for a Chinese government subsidy that amounts to $19,000 per car. The government offers the subsidy only to electric cars made in China.
Lawmakers contend such requirements are unfair and may violate world trade rules.
The cooperation agreement was signed during a meeting of the U.S. automaker’s board in Shanghai — a visit underscoring China’s importance to the company’s future. It was the GM board’s first meeting outside of the U.S