Rare earths should be a topic of conversation when Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bilateral meetings with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in Osaka over the next two days.
A discussion about rare earths has two distinct advantages for Morrison. First, it’s an opportunity to remind Trump and Abe of the increasingly important economic contribution Australia is making to the reliable and affordable supply of these strategic minerals to the US and Japan through Lynas Corporation.
Second, it’s an opportunity to draw the alignment between the economic benefits of the free trade between the three countries and the mutual geopolitical interest the US and Japan have in securing supplies of products critical to the technology, automotive and military industries.
These three industries are significant contributors to the economies of Japan and the US as well as being at the forefront of the escalating trade war between the US and China. The two countries are involved in a tit-for-tat fight over the supply of technology components.
Morrison’s pitch to Trump and Abe on rare earths should be an opportunity to remind both men of the deepening of the economic relationships between the three countries thanks to Lynas. It this week extended its long-term financial links to the Japanese government and it plans to construct a heavy rare earths processing plant in Texas in partnership with US company Blue Line Corporation.
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