EU, Argentina sign raw materials MoU with lithium in focus

14th June 2023

By: Reuters


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BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's president and the chief of the European Union signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Tuesday to boost cooperation on sustainable raw materials during an event in Buenos Aires, in a push for more clean energy tie-ups.

The agreement is designed to boost cooperation on climate-friendly infrastructure as well as new research on raw materials, including lithium, an ultra-light electric vehicle battery metal that governments worldwide are keen to secure supply of.

"Lithium is very important because it is crucial for clean energy technologies," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference in Buenos Aires, citing an estimated 12-fold rise in lithium demand in Europe by 2030.

Argentina is the world's fourth largest producer of lithium and has been attracting a wave of investment. The country, along with Chile and Bolivia, is in South America's so-called 'lithium triangle', which holds the world's largest trove of the metal.

Von der Leyen added that Argentina also had big potential for renewable energy, including solar and wind, as well as green hydrogen, a growing sector.

The MoU comes as the EU and South America's Mercosur bloc push towards finalizing a trade deal, which some leaders hope can be concluded by the end of the year.

"My aim is that we do everything we can so the Mercosur-EU agreement is concluded as soon as possible," said von der Leyen. "I think the bulk of the work has already been done."

Argentine President Alberto Fernández said there were some kinks in the deal to iron out, citing issues such as Europe looking to protect its farm sector and stringent environmental clauses that could impact South American producers.

"We ask for a balanced agreement, where we all win," he said. "Those are the things we have to talk about."

Edited by Reuters


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