Saudi-British intentions to cooperate in critical minerals
British Business and Trade Secretary Kimmy Badenock began her Gulf tour by signing a letter of intent with Saudi Arabia to enhance cooperation in the field of critical minerals. and solidify a commitment to co-develop critical mineral supply chains needed for the global transition to carbon neutrality.
The letter was signed by Bandar Al-Khorayef, Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, and Badenoc, in the presence of Deputy Minister for Mining Affairs Eng. Khaled Al-Mudaifer, at the ministry’s headquarters in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Al-Khorayef explained that this step comes within the framework of raising the level of cooperation in bilateral relations between the two countries in the industrial and mining sectors, and contributes to supporting joint global efforts to reach the green future that the countries of the world seek. Which requires new and stable sources of key minerals.
He stressed that Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom share a vision aimed at ensuring the availability of minerals necessary for the transition to clean energy, while maintaining high standards of sustainability, as the letter of intent will allow the two countries to diversify supply chains for critical minerals for a number of metal-intensive industries, including the manufacture of electric cars, aviation, defence, and renewable energy.
For her part, Kimmy Badenock, UK Secretary of Business and Trade, confirmed, “Critical minerals are a necessity for our daily lives, including electric cars, medical devices, wind turbines, and solar panels.” She stated that the signing of the letter of intent with Saudi Arabia will enhance the partnership of the two countries in developing the supply chain and cooperation. Industrial.
The project aims to increase and diversify global supply sources of critical minerals. It will also prioritize sustainable and responsible production of critical minerals, focus on developing a common understanding of critical mineral strategies and flexibility of supply chains, in addition to encouraging the replacement and recycling of critical minerals and developing a unified vision for the mining and minerals sector that is in line with standards. global environment and enhance the rights of communities and workers.
The letter of intent seeks to coordinate with multilateral forums regarding critical mineral supply chains, involve the private sector in defining vital new mineral supply chains, explore joint investment opportunities, and identify opportunities for cooperation on clean mining technologies, resource efficiency, substitution, and other related technologies. It also aims to facilitate knowledge sharing on projects, skills development and practical initiatives related to critical minerals.
The “critical metal” is defined as that material vital to the economic well-being of the world’s major and emerging economies, the supply of which may be at risk; Due to geological rarities, geopolitical issues, trade policy, or other factors.
It is noteworthy that Kimmy Badenock, the British Minister for Business and Trade, is visiting the Middle East to make progress in the UK’s ambitions to conclude a modern and comprehensive trade agreement with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Badenok’s tour includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, and extends for five days this week. A trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council is expected to increase the volume of mutual trade with the region by 16 percent.
The year 2022 witnessed a significant increase in the export of British services to the region, including the expansion of the services of innovative environmentally friendly British companies throughout the Gulf region.
The Business and Trade Secretary will hold talks to urge GCC ministers to make progress on the UK’s ambitions for a modern and comprehensive trade agreement with the GCC, during her visits to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week.
According to the British Government Media and Communication Centre, Minister Badenoch will meet with her counterparts from ministers in each of these countries, and with the new Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jassim Al-Budaiwi, and will also speak with business leaders and investors to build on the volume of investments received into the United Kingdom – which currently exceeds 15.7 billion pounds sterling – to achieve the British government’s priority in developing the economy.
Strong relations between Britain and the Gulf
Ahead of her tour, Minister of Business and Trade Kimi Badenok said, “We already have strong trade and investment relations with the Gulf countries, but I am determined to strengthen them even more. The GCC represents a huge opportunity for British businesses, whether they are selling fantastic British food and drink products into new markets, or providing new consumers for our thriving digital trade and renewable energy sectors.”
“I know that my counterparts share the same ambition to reach this agreement, and I am ready to match their ambition,” she added.
This visit comes at a time when the total volume of mutual trade between the United Kingdom and the GCC countries has reached a record high of 61.3 billion pounds in 2022.
The United Kingdom began negotiations with the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in 2022, and has so far completed three rounds of talks.
The countries of the Gulf region combined are the seventh largest export market for the United Kingdom. Its demand for British goods and services is set to grow rapidly to reach £1 trillion by 2035, an increase of more than 75 per cent.