Yellen Sights ‘Green Transition’ Advancement While Visiting US Lithium Site in Chile

During a tour of the US lithium producer Albemarle on Saturday in northern Chile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that deeper ties between the two nations would be advantageous for both, increase energy security, and advance important climate goals. As she concluded her visit to Chile on Friday, Yellen stated that $3 trillion in worldwide investment potential might result from growing demand for renewable energy through 2050. She made this statement following meetings with President Gabriel Boric and Economy Minister Mario Marcel in Santiago. Yellen’s trip to Chile is a part of the Biden administration’s larger initiative to strengthen connections with important allies and partners like Chile in order to diversify U.S. supply chains and lessen overreliance on China for essential minerals and other goods.

 

As the world’s greatest producer of copper and second-largest producer of lithium, two elements required in batteries for electric vehicles and other technologies as part of the green transition, Washington has a major interest in Chile. In prepared remarks for the visit, Yellen stated, “Our ties with Chile increase our energy security at home, create economic opportunity in both our countries, and bring us all closer to achieving our climate goals.” The United States wants to increase trade flows with Chile, not decrease trade with China, its largest trading partner, Yellen told reporters on Friday. “It’s not a competition.

 

Yellen stated that Chile’s lead position in copper production was crucial, pointing out that the metal is needed for everything from offshore wind farms and transmission networks to electric cars, with demand expected to quadruple by 2035. Chile is the world’s second-largest producer of lithium, with 30% of the global market share and the highest deposits. Given its critical role in energy storage, such as for EV batteries, demand for lithium is predicted to triple by 2030. Because of Chile’s 20-year-old free trade agreement with the US, cars can qualify for clean vehicle tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act, which Yellen claimed would strengthen both nations’ economies. Critical minerals from Chile play a part in this.

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