DOE celebrates grant to lithium battery firm as boon to U.S., but company mainly works out of China
The Department of Energy in October announced a $200 million grant to a lithium battery production firm, touting the grant as a boost to domestic green energy production while failing to acknowledge the company's close ties to the Chinese government.
Microvast Holdings received the grant to build a battery separator facility in Tennessee, the Washington Free Beacon reported, a move DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm said would "supercharge the private sector to ensure our clean energy future is American-made." The funds stemmed from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.
The company, however, is currently on a Securities and Exchange Commission watchlist that includes Chinese firms slated for delisting from the NASDAQ due to non-compliance with American auditing regulations. Moreover, the company acknowledges that Beijing "exerts substantial influence over the manner in which we must conduct our business activities and may intervene, at any time and with no notice," per the outlet.
Microvast itself is indeed an American majority-owned firm, headquartered in Texas. However, an investigation by the Free Beacon revealed that in its 2021 SEC report, the firm identified as a "holding company" and operated mostly through a Chinese-based subsidiary. It further admitted that the majority of its clients have ties to Chinese state-owned companies and that the communist regime had granted it subsidies.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio denounced the grant, telling the Free Beacon that "[g]iving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a company whose operations are based in China that refuses to comply with American securities rules is crazy."
"What's more, any new technology developed in this partnership is almost certainly going to benefit China given Microvast's operations there," he continued. "It is just another example of the Biden administration not understanding the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party."