The inaugural Australia-United States Strategic Commercial Dialogue was held last Thursday, cementing bilateral commitments to sustainable investment in areas of common commercial interest such as critical minerals and supply chain resilience.
Commonwealth Trade, Tourism, and Investment Minister Dan Tehan met with the United States’ Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in Washington to reiterate their countries’ trade and investment relationship.
Among their agreements included renewed support for sustainable investing and the energy transition, and for critical minerals and supply chain resilience.
Both parties acknowledged the importance of aligning long-term financial returns with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. They also emphasised that the private sector has a key role to play in the uptake of renewable energy, and low emissions technology to help decarbonise traditionally heavy polluting sectors like mining and manufacturing.
Further, they agreed that the green energy transition would require a resilient and diversified supply of critical minerals. Their discussion of cooperation considered strengthening supply chains across the Indo-Pacific in addition to Australia and the United States.
The representatives discussed their support for the United States’ Indo-Pacific Economic Framework especially in shared priority areas such as digital economy and climate change. In particular, Secretary Raimondo stressed her belief that a Cross-Border Privacy Rules System was needed to regulate the global digital economy.
Regarding securing critical minerals supply chains, they also highlighted the need to establish a shared set of ESG values and traceability standards alongside like-minded partners. Referencing the executive-level roundtable on critical minerals that was held concurrently, both parties highlighted the commercial potential for industry and the need to improve current financing mechanisms to better coordinate and leverage private investment in supply chains.
Minister Tehan led a delegation of critical mineral and rare earth sector chief executives who were in conversation with American counterparts, as well as members of congress and government officials.
Minister Tehan said that Australia would continue to position itself as the United States’ partner of choice for critical mineral investment.
“This delegation will help deepen the ties between Australian critical minerals businesses, potential investors, and the US government,” Minister Tehan said.
“Our government is working to help facilitate partnerships between Australian critical mineral project proponents and potential sources of offtake and investment.
“As global demand grows for critical minerals for use in rechargeable batteries, electronic devices and advanced technologies, Australia is well positioned to become a trusted supplier of critical minerals to the US, and the world.
On April 4, the Commonwealth government approved a $1.25 billion for the first integrated rare earths refinery in Australia.
According to the United States government, investment from Australian sources is the ninth largest source of foreign investment while the United States is Australia’s largest. Trade of goods and services between the countries had an annual value of $64 billion between 2017 and 2021, according to Australian government data.
The second Australia-United States Strategic Commercial Dialogue will be convened by the Australian Trade Minister in 2023.
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