In recent developments, the United States and the European Union have encountered challenges in reaching a trade deal related to critical battery minerals. Despite this setback, both parties are committed to pursuing negotiations aimed at establishing a transatlantic marketplace for minerals and other vital components, as stated by the EU's top trade official.
Valdis Dombrovskis, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, addressed reporters after bilateral talks held in Washington. He acknowledged the existence of "outstanding issues" on the European side, including concerns regarding the US green energy subsidy law known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which the EU views as discriminatory.
The primary focus of discussion during the fifth ministerial meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council was the battery minerals trade agreement. This agreement aims to enable European companies to benefit from the generous tax credits provided by the US for electric vehicles.
Dombrovskis refrained from providing specific targets or deadlines but emphasized the alignment of these negotiations with broader goals, such as ensuring resilient supply chains and promoting the transition to green economies. Many of these critical minerals are essential for advancing the green initiatives of both economies.
Despite existing differences, Dombrovskis expressed a willingness to continue engagement and eventually reach a comprehensive agreement.
Following the TTC meeting, no joint statement was issued. The Trade and Technology Council was established in 2021 to foster cooperation between the US and EU on various fronts, including strengthening semiconductor supply chains, addressing China's "non-market" trade practices, and coordinating the regulation of major tech companies. Both sides have agreed to convene a sixth ministerial meeting in April, which is anticipated to be the final one before national elections in both the EU and the US later this year.
The discussions on battery minerals trade began in March 2023 amid concerns that the Inflation Reduction Act, with its tax credits for clean energy investments in the US, could divert projects away from Europe. Notably, the US swiftly reached a minerals agreement with Japan in March of the same year.