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US, Japan sign critical minerals deal to diversify supply chains, improve trade

The US and Japan signed a critical minerals agreement to diversify supply chains and improve economic and trade relations, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said Tuesday.

The deal builds on a 2019 trade agreement and aims to strengthen and diversify critical minerals supply chains and promote the adoption of electric vehicle battery technologies, according to USTR, the federal agency responsible for developing American trade policy,

Both nations, with respect to the critical minerals sector, have committed “to facilitate trade, promote fair competition and market-oriented conditions for trade in critical minerals, advance robust labor and environmental standards, and cooperate in efforts to ensure secure, transparent, sustainable, and equitable critical minerals supply chains,” it said in a statement.

The agreement also aims at cooperation in the non-imposition of export duties on critical minerals, domestic measures to address non-market policies and practices of other countries affecting trade in critical minerals, and practices regarding the review of investments in the minerals sector by foreign entities.

Critical minerals, such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements are regarded as essential components in many rapidly growing clean energy technologies, from wind turbines to electric vehicles, according to the International Energy Agency.

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