US - Japan Agreement on Strengthening Critical Minerals Supply Chains

Last updated: 29 February 2024

The Agreement between Japan and the United States on Strengthening Critical Minerals Supply Chains, signed on 28 March 2023, outlines a commitment to strengthen and diversify the supply chains of critical minerals essential for clean energy and electric vehicle batteries, particularlycobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese and nickel.  The Agreement underscores the importance of promoting fair trade, environmental protection, labour rights and sustainable sourcing of these minerals. The Agreement’s key points include: 

  1. To emphasise the prohibition of import restrictions or export duties,while promoting national treatment, fair competition and market-oriented conditions in the critical minerals trade. 
  2. To ensure environmentally sustainable supply chains, the Agreement emphasises cooperation on international standards for labelling and recycling of critical minerals. Parties are also commit to assess the environmental impacts of critical minerals projects, promote resource-efficient and circular economy practices and implement multilateral environmental agreements. 
  3. Regarding labour rights, the Agreement obligates both parties to maintain labour rights and enforce labour laws. This includes preventing forced or compulsory labour, child labour and discrimination. The parties will work to investigate and address violence against workers, protect migrant workers and promote gender equality and job-protected leave. They also seek to discourage goods produced using forced or compulsory labour and will cooperate in identifying and discouraging such goods. 
  4. The Agreement encourages cooperation and information-sharing to address labour rights violations in critical mineral supply chains and promote due diligence. Each party will establish a national labour consultative or advisory body for public input on Agreement-related matters. 
  5. Stakeholder consultation is recognised as important in trade policy related to critical minerals supply chains and both parties will cooperate to ensure secure, sustainable and equitable supply chains. 

The Agreement includes a security exception that allows parties to protect their essential security interests. It highlights the parties' intent to implement the Agreement in accordance with their laws and resources. 

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