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US, EU near agreement on critical minerals deal: official

By AFP

April 19, 2024 12:21 AM


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The United States and European Union are likely to soon conclude a deal on critical minerals, EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said Thursday.

A deal would help European firms benefit from the Inflation Reduction Act, US President Joe Biden's landmark climate action plan that Europe has expressed concerns over.

Under the IRA, companies must source a certain percentage of critical minerals for electric car batteries from the United States or its free trade partners to be eligible for incentives.

"If there is political will, we definitely should be able to conclude a critical minerals agreement. Substance-wise, we are almost there," Dombrovskis told reporters on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

The EU and United States also remain in talks on steel and aluminum trade.

But Dombrovskis said the "situation remains unbalanced," even though both sides have extended a truce.

Biden has paused Trump-era tariffs on most European steel and aluminum in favor of "tariff-rate quotas" allowing some goods to enter the United States without levies.

But the EU says exporters still come up against tariffs while Europe has suspended its retaliatory levies on US products.

For now, talks are complex as they also seek to push for the decarbonization of the steel and aluminum industries and combat non-market practices from parties like China.

Asked about the potential impact of Biden's call to triple tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, Dombrovskis said both sides have so far agreed to continue engagement and will need to talk more about measures that will be taken.

But he noted that excess industrial capacity of steel globally "remains an issue," largely due to China.

It's something "we need to deal with," he said.

On Thursday, Dombrovskis also stressed the need to stay the course on supporting Ukraine, calling the situation a "cliff-edge moment."

A decision by the US Congress to further aid Kyiv would help set things "back on track," he said, with lawmakers due to vote on a package this weekend.


AFP


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