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Europe

Lithium tipped for EU list of critical raw materials

Lithium will be added to the list alongside two or three other metals, according to an EU source with knowledge of the matter, who spoke to EURACTIV on condition of anonymity.

“Europe will require massively higher volumes of lithium for its battery revolution, but is highly dependent on supplies from elsewhere in the world,” says Guy Thiran from Eurometaux, a trade association.

Increasing home-grown production will strengthen Europe’s resilience to trade disruptions, he said, backing new initiatives to develop lithium mining and recycling activities in the EU.

Policymakers have stepped up plans to mass-produce batteries in Europe as the car industry rolls out new fully-electric models to comply with stricter CO2 emission standards.

Among the materials used in Lithium-ion battery cells, three are currently listed as critical raw materials by the European Commission: cobalt, natural graphite and silicon metal.

Although lithium is not in short supply, it has “an increasing relevancy for the Li-ion battery industry,” the EU executive said in a report on raw materials for battery applications, published in 2018.

“Recognizing the strategic role of lithium for the future European economy, and zero-emission mobility is important,” said Pia Alina Lange, head of communications at Recharge, a trade association bringing together manufacturers of advanced rechargeable and lithium batteries.

The EU’s list of critical raw materials was last updated in 2017. Raw materials that make it on the list are either considered highly important to the EU economy or have a high risk of supply shortages.

In the case of lithium, it is the first criteria that prevailed.

“Lithium would not fall under the definition of a classical CRM because it is neither scarce nor is the supply disrupted or at risk,” Lange said.

[Euractiv]

HS classification reference for Covid-19 medical supplies (2nd edition)

World Customs Organization prepared jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO) HS classification reference for Covid-19 medical supplies (2nd edition).

This list is provided as an indicative list only and only includes a limited number of items. It does not have legal status.

All classifications are done at 6 digits level under the current international HS – HS 2017. In relation to classification at domestic levels (7 or more digits) local Customs administration should be requested.

[World Customs Organization]

 

Middle East

Combating coronavirus: UAE reduces fees of 94 services

The UAE Ministry of Economy has announced a new list of service fees, reflecting a reduction across 94 of its offered services, particularly provided by the ministry to the public covering individuals, companies and the business sector.

The move is being made in accordance with UAE Cabinet Resolution No. 20 of 2020 regarding services fees provided by the ministry.

The reduction covers a wide range of services, particularly the ones related to innovation, business activities, investment, production, trade, import and export activities.

The most prominent of these services include commercial registration services, commercial agencies, trademarks, origin, auditors and intellectual properties.

According to the ministry, the reduction rates applied to these services reach up to 98 per cent. The financial impact on the business sector as a result of this reduction is estimated to be valued at Dh113 million in 2020.

Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said that the reduction in fees for these select services, with large percentages of up to 98 per cent in some services, is a distinct and important step being made to support the business and companies sector in the UAE during the current circumstances and represents a prominent addition to the matrix of measures taken by the UAE Government and local governments to face the repercussions of the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on the business environment in the country.

Al Mansoori stressed that the MOE and its partners are fully committed in dealing with the negative effects that Covid-19 has made on the national economy. He revealed that they will be working around the clock to monitor the market and business environment situation to develop urgent solutions as well as medium and long-term incentive plans that ensure the protection of economic gains and accelerate the economic recovery.

[Zawya]

 

Africa

Egypt to disburse 30% of due export subsidies

The Egyptian government decided to disburse 30% of due export subsidies with a minimum limit of EGP 5 million owed by the Export Development Fund.

Companies will be exempted from submitting tax clearance certificates to receive the export subsidies till the end of next June, the finance minister Mohamed Maait said in a statement on Tuesday (7 April).

[Mubasher]