Vietnam EV maker VinFast gets permit to start construction on U.S. factory


Adds details on permit applications

HANOI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam's electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast said on Friday North Carolina regulators had given the automaker one of the environmental permits it needs to begin construction on a planned $4 billion EV assembly plant in the U.S. state.

The Vietnamese company, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup JSC VIC.HM, has been moving to expand in the United States, where it hopes to compete with existing automakers.

VinFast was awarded an "Air Permit", the company said, adding it was still seeking other permits for the Chatham Country factory, but would start a tender for construction.

"The Air Permit allows us to start construction on phase 1 of the factory. We will start construction soon," VinFast said in a statement, without specifying any time frame.

The company completed the application for the Air Permit in December last year and received approval on Feb. 9, according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality website.

It has also applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed to minimise damage to water quality and wetlands.

VinFast has said it plans to start operations in the North Carolina plant, which is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs, as soon as 2024.

Phase one of the project includes a $2 billion investment in a factory capable of producing 150,000 vehicles a year. The company's second phase will focus on battery production.

The carmaker is scheduled to deliver its first batch of cars shipped from Vietnam to U.S. customers from late February.

(Reporting by Phuong Nguyen Editing by Ed Davies)

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