EU, Uzbekistan forge partnership aiming to pave way for critical raw material supplies

By Tawney Kruger in Tashkent April 8, 2024

The European Union on April 5 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Uzbekistan that Brussels says could pave the way to securing the bloc much-sought access to deliveries of critical raw materials (CRMs) through a strategic partnership.

The agreement aims to ensure diverse and sustainable CRM supplies for both the EU and Uzbekistan that will support the green and digital transitions, according to the EU Commission. Uzbekistan, with significant reserves of CRMs like copper, molybdenum and gold wants to expand its CRM processing for domestic and international industries.

The MoU was signed by Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice-president of the European Commission, and Laziz Kudratov, Uzbekistan's Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade.

"This agreement with resource-rich Uzbekistan will help the EU to secure much-needed access to critical raw materials. It is part of our wider global outreach to work with partners on securing materials for the future,” Dombrovskis said.

Key areas of cooperation under the strategic partnership include integrating sustainable CRM value chains, enhancing the resilience of supply chains, mobilising funding for projects, promoting sustainable production and sourcing, fostering research and innovation and building capacity.

The partnership aligns with the EU's 2020 Action Plan for Critical Raw Materials and its external energy engagement strategy.

Similar raw materials partnerships have been established by the EU with other states, including Canada, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Chile, Argentina, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Autonomous Territory of Greenland.

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