April 18. 2024. 9:26

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EU and US look to attract developing countries into critical raw materials partnership

The EU and US are enticing developing countries into a partnership that looks to align measures on the supply of critical raw materials, a Commission official said on Wednesday (3 April).

Roughly 24 countries have been invited to attend a launch event of the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) Forum on Friday (5 April), during the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a forum for cooperation between the two jurisdictions, said the official.

The MSP Forum is building on a previous partnership launched by the US in 2022 “to accelerate the development of diverse and sustainable critical energy minerals supply chains.”

“What was missing in the MSP was outreach to resource-rich developing countries,” the official said.

The EU and US have “a new and potentially better offer [for the developing nations] that creates more value added in those countries,” they said.

Adding, “an offer that is much more based on partnership on working together on identifying the project opportunities, financing opportunities, Infrastructure opportunities, working on sustainability.”

The MSP Forum proposition, the official went on to say, is meant to provide an alternative to “the offer that for example, [these countries] have been working on with China until now.”

The EU and US will co-chair the forum, according to draft conclusions of the TTC meeting, seen by Euractiv.

Friday’s meeting is a “political” event, where ministers will exchange their views, and talks to join the Forum will follow, the official said.

The 24 invitees to the Friday event include Malawi, Angola, the Philippines, Brazil and Indonesia. Ukraine, Libya, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan will attend the event physically, the official said.

The 2022 initiative included 14 countries – Australia, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the UK, and the US – plus the European Commission.

The soon-to-be-launched MSP Forum aims to expand the scope of cooperation into policy, particularly regarding sustainability, the official said.

These materials are key to the digital and green transitions, that the EU and US are trying to realise. However, global supply chains for these minerals, such as lithium and cobalt are largely dependent on China, seen by the EU and US, as a strategic weakness.

The EU is trying to achieve its own independence in part through direct partnerships, with countries such as Norway.

Euractiv revealed that Australia will sign a partnership on critical raw materials soon, and is close to signing at least another three countries.

The future of the TTC, a rare informal forum for cooperation on tech and trade issues between the two allies, appears to be hanging in the balance.

This week will most likely see the last meeting before the EU heads to the polls in June, and the US following suit in November.

How the trans-Atlantic council will continue its work and in what form, is up for debate.

Euractiv previously reported that the council will open up for stakeholder feedback on its future and usefulness.

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[Edited by Rajnish Singh]

Read more with Euractiv

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