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Critical Minerals Agreements (CMAs)

What you should know

To qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) electric vehicle (EV) tax credit, a portion of the critical minerals used in an EV’s battery must be mined from or processed in a country with which the U.S. has a “free trade agreement.” Countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the United States have complained loudly, going so far as to threaten and launch disputes at the World Trade Organization.

In response, the Biden administration began to rapidly negotiate “Critical Minerals Agreements” (CMAs) and issued guidance allowing CMAs to qualify as “free trade agreements.”

CMAs that lack binding and enforceable labor, environmental, and human rights standards in our EV supply chain could further incentivize the abuse of vulnerable populations in the Global South, while also undermining the intent of the IRA to bolster job opportunities for U.S. workers.

There is an urgent need to source critical minerals for the green transition. However, if we want to achieve a clean energy transition that is just and equitable, it is critical that, in the process of sourcing those minerals, we do not allow U.S. taxpayer money to subsidize worker exploitation, environmental degradation, and harm to the communities where these minerals are located.