EU Commission to sign partnership with Australia on critical raw materials

(EurActiv, 27 Mar 2024) The European Commission will sign a strategic partnership with Australia on critical raw materials, a source familiar with the matter told Euractiv, as the EU continues its drive to secure access to these materials from sources other than China.

Separately, the Commission’s Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Kerstin Jorna, told Euractiv that four partnerships are “in the negotiation [stage] or ready for signature”.

The EU is trying to reduce its dependency on China for critical raw materials that are key to the bloc’s green and digital goals. These materials include lithium used in batteries and rare earth minerals crucial for electronics.

The mission of Australia to the EU and Canberra’s trade agency, Austrade, did not respond to Euractiv’s request for comment on this story by the time of publication.

Australia is rich in lithium, and for five years the two jurisdictions have tried to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement which would have loosened import controls for other goods as well, such as cars and beef.

But trade talks collapsed in November 2023, reportedly over the beef sector.

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EurActiv, 27 Mar 2024: EU Commission to sign partnership with Australia on critical raw materials