US approves sale of high-tech battery firm to China despite security concerns
Washington, Jan. 30 : The American Government has approved the sale of U.S. taxpayer-backed A123 Systems, a firm that manufactures lithium-ion batteries, to a Chinese company, despite security and economic concerns about sensitive technology changing hands.
A representative with A123 Systems confirmed to FoxNews.com that Wanxiang America Corp. has got the approval from a Treasury Department agency to take over 'substantially all' of the non-government business assets of the lithium ion battery manufacturer.
In a written statement, Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, said that that they were pleased the government has completed its review and provided them with the go-ahead to finalize the transaction.
According to Fox News, a representative with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency panel chaired by the Treasury Department which would have made the decision, declined to comment.
The move comes despite concerns from lawmakers on both sides about a Chinese firm taking over a company, and technology, that U.S. taxpayers helped fund through 249 million dollars in grants, the report said.
The move would essentially transfer sensitive battery technology with 'key military applications,' according to one group that is opposing the sale.
The concern among U.S. lawmakers is that if the sale goes through, China would have access to years of high-tech advancements.
In a statement on Tuesday, Pin Ni said 'Wanxiang America is committed to its long-term success and the continuance of its U.S. operations. Wanxiang America looks forward to closing the transaction and to continuing to foster the technologies A123 has worked so hard to develop,' the report added.