By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada and the United States can collaborate more closely on manufacturing electric vehicles and on supplying critical minerals needed to make batteries for cars and other clean technologies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.
“The integration of our economies, of our supply chains … I think gives a real opportunity for us to really take some leaps forward,” Trudeau said in a telephone interview.
After noting that Canada has many of the rare earths minerals needed for car batteries and solar panels, Trudeau said it was important to have “a secure supply from a friend and an ally”.
China has been one of the main suppliers of critical minerals to the United States, and Biden is planning to mandate a review of critical U.S. supply chains with an eye to securing U.S. industrial supplies, Reuters reported earlier this week.
Canada’s mineral wealth “is part of why so many automakers are now looking at setting up their supply chains for zero emission vehicles in Canada,” Trudeau said.
General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Stellantis NV have all announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles in Canada in coming years.
“We’ve already seen something like $6 billion worth of investment by auto companies in Canada over the past couple of years into zero-emissions or low-emissions vehicles,” Trudeau said.
“There’s a lot of really great opportunities to be developing partnerships and production facilities not just for the North American market, but for the world,” he added.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Daniel Wallis)