EU to step up raw materials diplomacy
“An EU expert group has identified 14 raw materials seen as “critical” for EU high-tech and eco-industries and suggested that the European Union’s global diplomacy should be geared up to ensure that companies gain easier access to them in future.
‘It is our aim to make sure that Europe’s industry will be able to continue to play a leading role in new technologies and innovation and we have to ensure that we have the necessary elements to do so,’ said Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani, presenting the group’s final report on 17 June. …
To guarantee that industry can access these essential raw materials, ‘we need fair play on external markets,’ said Tajani. Encouraging supply from EU sources, improving resource efficiency and increasing efforts to recycle were also highlighted in the report as ways forward.”
Source: Euractiv, June 18 2010
- The European Union has realized 30 million jobs in Europe directly depend on availability of mineral resources.
- Antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, PGMs (Platinum Group Metals), rare earths, tantalum and tungsten are deemed to be critical for the industry in Europe. Most of them are used especially in the high tech industry.
- The report concludes that the EU should respond to the threat of lack of supply by ensuring access to raw materials from international markets under the same conditions as other industrial competitors; setting the right framework conditions within the EU in order to foster sustainable supply of raw materials from European sources; and boosting overall resource efficiency and promoting recycling to reduce the EU’s consumption of primary raw materials and decrease the relative import dependence.
- European deposits of the critical raw materials are low, so the fostering of sustainable supply will not affect many companies (although some minor producers in Eastern Europe might benefit).
- The key result of the study will be that the European Union will support manufacturers in closing long term deals with major producers of critical materials. The EU will follow China, Russia and Japan in negotiating favourable contracts, most likely promising trade benefits or even infrastructure investments in return. The official term for these actions is “Joint Dialogue”.
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