Yellen tours lithium plant in North Carolina to support Biden’s case on the US economy

Yellen tours lithium plant in North Carolina to support Biden’s case on the US economy

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attends a press conference in San Francisco, California, US, November 10, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Parrilla/File Image acquires license rights

Nov 30 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to North Carolina on Thursday to tout hundreds of billions of dollars in new clean energy investments thanks to U.S. tax incentives as President Joe Biden struggles to win voters over their benefits.

Yellen will tour Livent Corp’s facility in Bessemer City, North Carolina, which processes lithium hydroxide, a key component in electric vehicle batteries. The plant near Charlotte is doubling its capacity due to increased demand for electric vehicles due to consumer tax credits of up to $7,500 approved in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

In excerpts of remarks to be delivered at the factory, Yellen said similar investments are taking place across the country, with $614 billion worth of investments in clean energy and manufacturing projects announced since the Biden administration took office in 2021. These investments include $142 billion Dollars in electric cars and electric cars. Batteries and $71 billion in clean energy manufacturing, attributing most of the investment to tax breaks in the inflation-reducing law.

“We are seeing the emergence of a battery belt across the Midwest and South,” Yellen said, adding that this would strengthen U.S. energy security and reduce American dependence on China’s electric vehicle battery supply chain.

In the coming days, the Biden administration is expected to issue new guidance on the levels of Chinese content that electric vehicle batteries can contain and still be eligible for IRA tax breaks. The Levent plant processes lithium brine largely from Argentina and Canada.

Yellen said the bulk of the investments spurred by the legislation were flowing to counties with below-average college graduation rates, creating good jobs “where they are needed most.”

Strong growth, little credit

Increased investment in new manufacturing projects, machinery and warehouses, which also includes new semiconductor plants, helped the US economy grow at a sharp annual rate of 5.2% in the third quarter, defying expectations earlier this year that it was headed toward a recession.

But Biden faces difficulties in gaining voters’ confidence in his handling of the economy, as opinion polls earlier this month showed Republican candidate Donald Trump leading in five of the six most important states in the battle.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said voters are still deeply scarred by rising costs of living caused by post-pandemic inflation. He added that it will take some time for this to fade, and for people to feel the benefits of higher wages.

“People are hearing that things are getting a lot better and that inflation is coming down and that we are not getting into a recession,” Sabato said. “But in their lives every week, when they go to the gas station or to the grocery store, they still notice the prices going up, and their minds go to the bad news. People will blame the president.”

(Reporting by David Lauder and Howard Schneider – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Covering the US Federal Reserve, monetary policy and economics, he is a graduate of the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University with previous experience as a foreign correspondent, economics correspondent and local staff for The Washington Post.

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