Follow CGSP on Social Media

Listen to the CGSP Podcast

U.S. Under Secretary Underplays New Cold War While Leaning Into Battery Metals Race with China

U.S. Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose W Fernandez. Image via @State_E

The United States doesn’t want to force countries to choose between it and China, as long as Chinese investments follow “the highest standards,” according to US Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Jose W Fernandez. While he focused on environmental and labor concerns, his remarks also highlighted the developing strategic race for battery metals between the U.S. and China. 

Speaking at a mining event in Cape Town on Thursday, Fernandez said: “What African governments want is for all investments, including Chinese investments, to respect local laws, and local interests, to follow human rights, including worker rights, and protection for the environment.” He insisted that U.S. companies aren’t involved in a “race to the bottom” to undercut wages and standards in competition with Chinese investors. 

Lead the Conversation on China

Subscribe Today to Get Full Access to The China-Global South Project

Check Out Everything You'll Get With Your Subscription

The China-Global South Daily Brief delivered to your inbox at 6AM Washington time

Full access to exclusive news and analysis from editors based in the Global South

Transcripts of CGSP’s twice-weekly podcasts

Students and teachers with a valid .edu email address are eligible for a 50% discount off monthly or yearly subscriptions. Email us to receive a discount code.

What is The China-Global South Project?


The China-Global South Project is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Global South stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalists and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Global South discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.