EU seeking to secure raw materials supply

EU seeking to secure raw materials supply

EU seeking to secure raw materials supply

The European Parliament has approved plans to secure the EU its own supply of critical raw materials, as Brussels seeks to reduce its dependence on other countries, especially China.

Brussels is particularly concern about falling behind during the transition to clean technology where China has already made great strides because of its access to raw materials, while the United States has poured billions into subsidies for green tech.

Critical raw materials like cobalt, lithium and tungsten are needed to make the most of the electrical products consumers use today, including smartphones.

China dominates in many clean tech sectors including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries and solar panels.

Nicola Beer, a German MEP spearheading the law through parliament, said the EU was 99 percent dependent on China for rare earths, which are needed for several promising technologies. "We cannot allow that to be the case."

Brussels opened another front in the clean tech competition with Beijing on Sept. 13, when it announced an investigation into Chinese electric car subsidies, bowing to pressure from France despite concerns in some countries, including Germany, about angering China.

This could lead the bloc to slap punitive tariffs or quotes on Chinese car makers, and risk a trade war with Beijing.

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has pointed to the need for Europe to produce more on the continent to ensure "economic security", a phrase that is often used since the war against Ukraine after Europe had to scramble to find energy sources that were not Russian.