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US is vulnerable to China’s lock on key minerals, Biden aide says

US is vulnerable to China’s lock on key minerals, Biden aide says

The US economy is vulnerable to China’s “lock” on critical mineral processing, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden said, likening the situation to the risk Europe faced from its reliance on Russia’s oil and gas amid its invasion of Ukraine.

“Quite frankly, we’re in a vulnerable position,” John Podesta, senior White House adviser for clean energy innovation and implementation, said Wednesday. “We can’t be in the position Europe was in front of the invasion of Ukraine,” he said. That would put the US at the mercy of “a country that has the potential to use its lock on supply chains to hold politically hostage decisions by governments,” he said.

China is a dominant player in the business of processing minerals, refining the majority of nickel, copper, cobalt and other resources key to economic growth and green-energy technologies. With initiatives such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the US is seeking to curtail global dependence on China as the strategic competition between the two nations increases.

Washington is also working to link up its supplies of critical minerals with those of allies, signing an agreement with Japan earlier this year and aiming to complete a similar deal with the European Union.

Podesta made his remarks at the SelectUSA Summit conference in Maryland where top officials from President Joe Biden to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo appealed to business executives from around the world to increase their engagement with the US.

Other initiatives prominently pitched by officials to attract investors to the US included the Chips and Science Act, which offers more than $50 billion in subsidies for chipmakers that raise their presence in the country.


May 10, 2023 12:38
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