HANOI — Vietnam’s VinFast said 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 state.

The company, a subsidiary of conglomerate Vingroup, has been moving to expand in the U.S., 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, 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 minimize damage to water quality and wetlands.

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