EU to seek clearance of trade deals, set rules on raw materials – von der Leyen

STRASBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union needs to update its links with reliable countries and key growth areas and secure supply of lithium and rare earths that power the switch to a green economy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Von der Leyen said she would push for ratification of trade agreements struck with Chile, Mexico and New Zealand and seek to advance negotiations with partners like Australia and India.

The EU executive chief said the European Union needed to avoid falling into the same dependency in its planned green transition as currently on oil and gas, noting that 90% of rare earths and 60% of lithium are processed in China.

She said the European Commission would put forward new legislation, the European Critical Raw Materials Act, to identify potential strategic projects and build up reserves where supply was at risk.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Jan Strupczewski)