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Lithium, copper, hydrogen and lots of trade: Europarliament approves new EU-Chile agreement


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Better access to raw materials and green energy, more cooperation in foreign affairs, and strengthening of bilateral trade: The European Parliament says yes to the EU-Chile Advanced Framework Agreement and its complementary agreement on trade and investment liberalization. By a large majority (358 votes in favour, 147 against and 45 abstentions), MEPs are calling on member states to proceed with the definition of the new relationship with the South American country. It will be up to the EU Council to give the green light to the trade part of the agreement, and the 27 national parliaments will then have to ratify it. In terms of trade, about 99.9 per cent of EU exports will be duty-free, except for sugar, while the most sensitive agricultural products are exempted from full liberalization. These “sensitive” products include meat, some fruits and vegetables, and olive oil. The parliament vote follows up on the European Commission, which, with the Santiago government, reached a preliminary understanding more than a year ago in December 2022. The EU-Chile agreement, once in force, should ensure better access to raw materials useful for the green transition and the realization of Green Deal goals, such as lithium (especially useful for electric car batteries), copper (needed for electric cars and wind turbines), clean fuel and hydrogen.


“The new EU-Chile framework agreement is of fundamental geopolitical importance,” stresses Maria Soraya Rodriguez Ramos (Renew), rapporteur of the dossier in the Committee on Foreign Affairs. With a European Union poor in those raw materials needed for the dual transition and the need to break free from China’s heavy dependence, which, however, the EU will not be able to reduce to zero, access to Chilean lithium and copper acquires strategic value. Not only that. With the trade agreement with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, plus the suspended Venezuela) put on hold over the strong protest of the twelve-star agricultural world, the one with Chile, a Mercosur-associated country, “will be the only trade agreement with Latin America approved during this term,” Rodriguez Ramos further reminds. This agreement, therefore, testifies to “the EU’s political commitment to strengthen our regional cooperation and strengthen our ties with a key Latin American partner.”