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U.S. And EU Look To Launch Trade Talks On Critical Minerals

The United States and the European Union could launch talks on critical materials trade when U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the White House on Friday.

The EU and the U.S. are in a spat over the subsidies in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which Europe fears could prompt European clean energy manufacturing companies to relocate to America to benefit from the $370 billion in tax credits and loans earmarked for clean energy in the IRA.  

The European Commission presented last month its own plan "to provide a more supportive environment for the scaling up of the EU's manufacturing capacity for the net-zero technologies and products required to meet Europe's ambitious climate targets."

But both the United States and the EU seek to reduce their massive dependence on China for the supply of critical raw minerals and rare earth elements.

During von der Leyen's visit to Washington D.C., the EU and the U.S. will discuss clean energy and talks could lead to the start of trade negotiations on critical minerals, as well as talks on transparency over government subsidies for green energy, U.S. officials told Reuters.

"This is a deal that is really focused on critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries and battery supply chains. We would expect that this is a negotiation that is limited in scope and relevant to the critical minerals that speak to those needs," one of the officials said ahead of President Biden's meeting with von der Leyen.

Earlier this week, the European Commission president discussed critical raw materials with Canada, too.

"We need them to reach our ambitious decarbonisation objectives. This is why, of course, the European Union's focus on the resilience of our supply chains is very strong," von der Leyen said at the joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on Tuesday.

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"But we see today that for example China produces 98% of Europe's supplies of rare earths. And Europe needs to de-risk this dependency," she added.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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