Green metal is gold of the future

During his conference call with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo before the ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity held last week

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual (center) graces the ASEAN Economic Ministers Business Advisory Council Consultation on Thursday, saying he welcomes the efforts of the private sector in supporting economic growth and development in the region. Such efforts include the private sector’s role in supporting the region’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, as well as the call for investments in renewable energy. | Photograph courtesy of the DTI

September 16, 2022

With the shift to clean energy gaining traction, green metals are getting the spotlight. These green metals, including copper, lithium, tin, and zinc, are gaining more attention, and rightfully so.

Green metals have a long-term tailwind forecast, critical in producing clean energy, like batteries and solar panels.

“In addition, these green metals can be used for downstream industries such as E.V. battery manufacturing, wiring harness production, hyper-scale data centers, and renewable energy projects,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual told US businessmen.

During his conference call with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo before the ministerial meeting of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity held last week, Pascual also pitched investments that would increase the country’s participation in value chains of high-value critical products.

He also acknowledged the efforts of the US, thru Secretary Raimondo, to facilitate recent US Trade and Development Agency grants, which he noted can be replicated and expanded through the IPEF.

It can be recalled that during the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the country last August, he announced a grant for a feasibility study on the Philippines’ first offshore wind farm and cited this as indicative of US’ vision for the IPEF.

Apart from this, another grant that will soon be announced involves processing nickel ore through a partnership with an American company that owns patents in the manufacture of batteries.

The US firm supplies US military and critical industries, including hyper-scale data centers, renewable energy projects, and long-haul trucking companies.

Upskilling support

Meanwhile, Secretary Pascual welcomed Raimondo’s IPEF upskilling initiative in which 14 of the largest US digital companies, such as Apple, American Towers and Amazon, will provide digital skills training to seven million women and girls in less-developed IPEF parties, including the Philippines.

The Philippines also expressed interest in mechanisms that lessen information asymmetries by promoting commercially oriented knowledge-sharing platforms to develop MSME-inclined ecosystems using the carbon credit market and green financing instruments. The country likewise supports “green lanes” and other investment facilitation vehicles for existing and future grants dedicated to establishing cross-border private joint venture partnerships in the region.

“I laud Secretary Raimondo and (US Trade Representative) Ambassador Katherine Tai’s effective and innovative design of the Los Angeles IPEF Ministerial Meeting. The program allowed parties to have a meaningful exchange of ideas toward delivering an IPEF that will not only be a framework for defining regional trade and investment relations, but equally important, will be an effective platform for undertaking innovative modes of regional industrial collaboration,” Secretary Pascual said.

At the meeting, the ministers resolved to establish a “Benefits Workstream” in each IPEF Pillars of Trade, Supply Chains, Clean Economy and Fair Economy.

They provided broad guidance on the negotiating objectives of partner countries in achieving an inclusive and high-standard economic regional framework. In recognizing different levels of development and individual financial capabilities, IPEF is committed to ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes and boosting trade and investment opportunities for people and markets within the region.

Thus, partner countries: under the Trade Pillar, commit to shared objectives on labor, environment, digital economy, agriculture, transparency and good regulatory practices, competition policy, trade facilitation, inclusivity, and technical assistance and economic cooperation.

Under the Supply Chains Pillar, countries underscore the commitment toward resilient, robust, diverse, and well-integrated supply chains through measures that build on principles of cooperation, crisis response, and mitigation of disruptions and vulnerabilities.

For the part of the Clean Economy Pillar, nations seek to accelerate efforts addressing collective energy and infrastructure needs in the region, including through initiatives that support greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, enhanced energy security, and climate resilience and adaptation.

While in terms of the Fair Economy Pillar, partner countries envision commitments that effectively implement and accelerate progress on tax initiatives and anti-corruption measures, guided by applicable international standards and conventions and supported by enhanced cooperation such as capacity building and innovative implementation approaches.

Such assistance may be in the form of grants, subsidies, or procurement opportunities that support or complement industry development initiatives of developing partner countries in the IPEF. By pursuing and utilizing mechanisms such as these, partners are further incentivized to work collectively to build and sustain robust investment environments that contribute to increased economic opportunities and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

Apart from India and the U.S., IPEF partners include Australia, Brunei, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Together with other IPEF partners, the Philippines endorsed the ministerial statements on Trade, Supply Chains, Clean Economy, and Fair Economy upon the conclusion of the first official in-person Ministerial Meeting on 10 September 2022.

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