Biden, Von der Leyen Launch Deal on Critical Minerals | European Union

Essential raw materials for decarbonization plans — such as lithium and tungsten — that are produced or processed in the European Union, will be able to enter the North American market with the same benefits as those that originate in the United States, announced this Friday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the end of a meeting with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

The announcement of an agreement between Washington and Brussels on this issue could put an end to a period of tension and uncertainty between the two sides, which began with the approval by the US Congress, in August 2022, of a proposal to combat changes climate change projects worth US$369 billion.

In one of the policies aimed at decarbonization in the USA, the Inflation Reduction Act grants strong tax incentives to individuals and companies that buy electric vehicles and that produce the batteries that power them — with the condition, in both cases, that the materials concerned are produced or processed in the USA.

This Friday, in a short conference press conference in the White House gardens, Von der Leyen said that the two sides reached an agreement to create the conditions that lift obstacles to the entry into the USA of essential raw materials produced or processed in the European Union, similarly to what happens, according to the Inflation Reduction Act, with countries that have free trade agreements with the US.

According to the president of the European Commission, Washington had already agreed to facilitate the entry of electric vehicles manufactured in the European Union, and this Friday it also committed to a “policy of transparency” on any incentives for decarbonization.

“This type of agreement furthers our shared objectives of increasing production and processing, and expanding access to sources of essential raw materials that are sustainable, reliable and free of labor exploitation”, reads the announcement set.

“Cooperation is also necessary to reduce unwanted strategic dependencies in these supply chains, and to ensure that they are diversified and developed with reliable partners”, reads the same document, in an indirect reference to countries like China, which represents 98 % of the European Union’s supply of rare earth metals.

Another of the subjects dealt with by Von der Leyen and Biden was the coordination of support for Ukraine’s resistance against the Russian invasion, with the president of the European Commission reaffirming, once again, that the European Union and the US will continue to side with the Army Ukrainian “for as long as necessary”.

“We remain committed to providing and mobilizing international support, including from the private sector, for Ukraine’s economic and financial stability,” the joint statement reads. “We support the International Monetary Fund in developing an ambitious program, by the end of March 2023, to provide the necessary budgetary support to Ukraine during this year and beyond 2023.”

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