A “win for taxpayers and American businesses,” is the reaction of Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas to the U.S. Energy Department’s decision to withhold a $200 million grant to lithium battery company Microvast Holdings because of its alleged links to China’s government.
Rep. Lucas was one of two lawmakers who wrote Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last December and expressed his criticism of the possible grant, saying Microvast had ties to the Chinese Communist Party that raised “serious concerns about the department’s ability to protect U.S. taxpayer dollars.”
“These funds are intended to strengthen America’s battery production and supply chain, not to tighten China’s stranglehold on these supplies,” said Lucas in response to Granholm’s decision.
Microvast, a company headquartered in Texas, did not respond publicly to the decision. The firm had been in talks with the Energy Department as it sought financial help to build a plant in Tennessee. It already has manufacturing plants in Tennessee, Germany and China.
Reuters reported there was a response from China.
“What the U.S. government decides about U.S. companies is a matter for the U.S. itself, and I will not comment on it,” said Mao Ning, spokeswoman at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when asked about the case at a regular news conference on Tuesday.
Reuters explained the grant had been set to support work by General Motors and Microvast on developing specialized EV battery separator technology and building a new separator plant. The projects had been expected to create hundreds of jobs.