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Vol 52 No 4

Published 18th February 2011

Cooking up those raw materials

European companies want cheaper raw materials and propose ways of getting them from Africa

European policy-makers are anxious to safeguard the supply of raw materials to their industries and the European Union has just presented guidelines for a ‘raw materials diplomacy’ to do just that. It recommends both increasing investment in mining projects in Africa and unspecified ‘trade disciplines’ for countries which restrict their exports to preferred customers. It is fashionable to blame China for its voracious appetite for raw materials. The EU and its industry lobbyists are no ascetics either. On 3 February, the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, Antonio Tajani, told the European Parliament and Council about the companies’ concerns.

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