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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. 

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