EU plans to cut reliance on China for strategic raw materials

The executive arm of the European Union has unveiled plans to boost the extraction and processing of key raw materials in a bid to mitigate the bloc's reliance on third-country suppliers including China.

The plans announced by the European Commission on Thursday identify 16 raw materials as strategic, whose demand is expected to grow. They include rare earth elements for wind turbines and lithium for electric vehicle batteries.

The EU will aim to secure at least 10 percent of its annual consumption of the materials through increased extraction in the bloc by 2030, with processing and recycling expanded to at least 40 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The bloc will also diversify its sources of the materials, with a goal of not importing more than 65 percent of its annual consumption of each of them from a single third country.

China supplies 98 percent of the EU's rare-earth elements needs at present.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters on Thursday that the bloc's current dependence on certain countries is not a stable or reliable way to build the industries of the future. He stressed the need to diversify import sources.