By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter
A PARTNERSHIP with the Philippines covering critical minerals is deemed critical for the US push to make its economy greener, the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) said.
John Patrick Goyer, USCC executive director for Southeast Asia, said both the US and the Philippine government have been discussing such an agreement for some time.
“I don’t really have a good sense of how far those conversations have gone. But I think that in order for, certainly for the US, to move forward effectively on its climate agenda, it is going to require access to certain critical minerals and rare earth elements (and) the Philippines has some of these,” Mr. Goyer told BusinessWorld.
However, he said there are still concerns in the US government and Congress about the impact of extracting green minerals on the environment and mine workers.
“I think there is a way to come up with some sort of cooperation, whether it’s through technical assistance, upgrading standards in that sector, or providing help on best practices,” he said.
“But those minerals are necessary to combat climate change. And while the process and the extraction itself has many risks, I don’t think there’s any choice but to try to move forward in the best way possible,” he added.
He added nickel and cobalt are needed to produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries and other components that the US needs to produce cleaner energy.
“Companies worldwide are increasingly having to price in climate risk as they consider investment plans,” he added.
Earlier this year, the US and Japan signed a critical minerals agreement to strengthen and diversify supply chains and promote the adoption of EV battery technology.
Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in September that a critical minerals agreement with the US is being discussed in the context of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).
IPEF is an economic bloc launched in 2022 with 14 participating founding members — Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, US and Vietnam.