After hitting pause on aluminum tariffs, Trump looks to collaborate with Canada on 35 ‘critical minerals’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 2, 2020)

Executive order opens door for U.S. government investment in projects outside its borders, but Canada likely to be wary

Even as U.S. President Donald Trump labelled Canada a national security threat based on its aluminum exports, his administration is taking steps to strengthen the two countries’ collaboration on critical minerals, possibly including aluminum.

On Wednesday, one night after the first debate with former vice-president Joe Biden, his rival in the run-up to the presidential election in November, Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for potential U.S. government investment in projects related to 35 so-called “critical minerals,” and even projects located outside its borders, in an effort to decrease its dependence on China.

The latest executive order describes its reliance on China as “particularly concerning” and accuses the country of using “aggressive economic practices” to dominate the minerals sector.

It also points at a trend toward increasing government intervention in a North American supply chain for electric vehicles, as many of the critical elements are needed as raw materials for the batteries and other parts of that nascent sector.

China is the world’s dominant supplier for many of these minerals. The executive order directs the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Trade Representative and other relevant U.S. agencies to submit a report within 45 days that details opportunities to “help allies build reliable critical mineral supply chains within their own territories.”

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