WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm demanding answers on DOE’s $200 million grant to Microvast, a lithium battery company that operates primarily out of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
In the letter, Barrasso points out that awarding Microvast the money is a danger to our national security. It also undermines the United States’ position in its race against China for technological supremacy. Barrasso concludes by requesting answers on the process for approving DOE funding.
Read the full letter and questions here. The full letter is also below.
Dear Secretary Granholm,
I write to you with grave concerns as the Department of Energy (DOE) continues to operate in a manner that undermines and endangers our national security. In addition to the misuse of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and security issues that have brought widespread condemnation upon the Department, DOE has awarded $200 million to Microvast, a lithium battery company that operates primarily out of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Microvast’s close relationship with China is no secret. A recent prospectus issued by the company states, “Our operations are subject to extensive PRC government regulation…We could become subject to regulations issued by the [Cyberspace Administration of China] and requirements of the PRC’s Cyber Security Law or Data Security Law.” Even in the midst of the PRC siphoning hundreds of billions of dollars in research and development (R&D) from the United States each year, Microvast stated in recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings that it will “…plan to continue leveraging [its] knowledge base in the PRC and to continue expanding [its] R&D efforts there as well.”
Additionally, before Microvast received its grant from DOE, it was listed by the SEC in May of 2022 as a company not in compliance with the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA). This law is intended to prevent companies that employ China-based auditors, as does Microvast, from obscuring their financial records from U.S. regulators.
I remind you that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was ostensibly intended to develop robust domestic manufacturing bases and supply chains free from the predations of the PRC. DOE distributing $200 million in taxpayer funds to a company joined at the hip with China is demonstrably antithetical to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s intent. It is clear DOE’s actions directly undermine the United States’ position in its race against China for technological supremacy.
I ask that you answer the following questions no later than December 21, 2022.