The U.S. and Japan have reached a new agreement on minerals used in clean-energy technologies, The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.
What’s going on: “Under the deal, the U.S. and Japan agreed not to levy export duties on critical minerals they trade and coordinate labor standards in producing minerals, among other steps, according to a U.S. announcement.”
Why it’s important: The Biden administration has of late sought to build partnerships with allied countries on critical minerals, an area in which China dominates.
- “As the U.S. relationship with China becomes increasingly adversarial, officials across Washington worry that relying on China for materials crucial for clean-energy technologies could leave the U.S. vulnerable.”
- The new minerals pact will be reviewed every two years to see if the two sides should continue or modify it.
“A welcome moment”: “This is a welcome moment as the United States continues to work with our allies and partners to strengthen supply chains for critical minerals,” U.S. Trade Rep. Katherine Tai said, according to the Journal.
- The news also comes amid other bilateral and regional partnerships, including the State Department-led Minerals Security Partnership.
- Some Western officials have proposed a “buyers’ club” that would offer financing and other support to mineral-rich countries to convince them to sell to the U.S. and its allies rather than China.