Canada, EU in raw materials pact to cut China reliance

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Image: EU Commission via YouTube

Canada and the European Union launched a new partnership to secure supply chains for critical minerals and reduce dependence on China in a push for jobs and to counter climate change.

“With EU partners, we talked about what we can do to build a cleaner economy for years to come,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday after meeting with EU chiefs in Brussels. “To begin with, in order to continue creating good, green jobs for the middle class, we must secure supply chains for critical minerals and metals that are essential for things like electric car batteries.”

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, mentioned China.

“We as Europeans want to diversify our imports away from producers like China because we want more sustainability, less environmental damage and we want transparency on raw materials,” von der Leyen said, speaking alongside Trudeau.

The partnership was unveiled as the world’s biggest economies continuing to spar over everything from human rights to technology exports, with China mocking U.S. efforts to build a broader coalition to counter Beijing and calling Washington “very ill indeed.”

“These raw materials, like for example critical minerals and metals, are indispensable for the green and digital transition,” von der Leyen said.

Canada and the EU said in a joint statement that the partnership will focus on enhancing “security and sustainability of trade and investment; integration of raw material value chains; science, technology and innovation collaboration; and environmental, social, governance” criteria.

(By John Follain, with assistance from Katharina Rosskopf)

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