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Diplomacy in Action

A U.S. and EU Initiative To Partner on Raw Material Flows & Data Standards


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
November 6, 2013

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In September 2012, a EU-U.S. meeting led by the European Union was held in Brussels, Belgium. At that meeting, the EU and the U.S. established a goal to further the exchange of information on criticality, examine areas where materials flow information is insufficient, improve the inventory of identified minerals resources, expand knowledge of mineral supply chains, and enhance end use data in order to better understand mineral supply chains and potential sources of recycled materials. As a follow up, the U.S. Geological Survey hosted a U.S.-EU Workshop on Raw Materials Flow & Data Standards at their headquarters on November 5 and 6, 2013, in Reston Virginia.

At the workshop, the combined U.S.-EU panels included discussions on topics related to U.S. Geological Survey minerals information activities and future directions, public policy issues related to critical and conflict minerals, materials flow and life cycle analysis of minerals, and EU steps to compile and harmonize data from member countries. The first session included a review on the types of minerals information that the USGS collects, processed and analyzed; and how USGS minerals information is changing to adapt to changing needs and technology. The second session focused on critical and conflict minerals. The third session focused on materials flow and life cycle analysis of minerals. An example of materials flow analysis work conducted by USGS was the global aluminum flow report created for OECD and was presented during the meeting. The fourth session focused on EU steps to compile and harmonize data on a transatlantic level from member countries. During the session EU plans and progress made towards harmonization of data on the EU level as well as on the transatlantic level were discussed.

The cooperative exchange of information focused on all relevant topics (criticality, materials flow information, inventory of identified minerals resources, end-use data to better understand mineral supply chains and potential sources of recycled materials). Overall, the on-going and proposed U.S.-EU collaboration supports efforts to develop a more comprehensive knowledge of raw materials availability as the basis for policy discussions domestically and multilaterally in order to maintain a sustainable supply of raw materials. These efforts are important to the U.S.-EU cooperation on raw materials under the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Economic Cooperation (TEC) and in the interest of national security of all the nations engaged and can be the basis for policy discussions domestically and multilaterally in order to maintain a sustainable supply of raw materials that will be of benefit to the U.S., the EU, and the world.

In addition to representatives from the EU (DG Enterprise and selected Members States’ Geological Surveys), U.S. participants included officials from the USGS; State Department; Defense Logistics Agency; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Office of the U.S. Trade; U.S. environmental Protection Agency; EPA; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense; Department of Energy; National Mining Association; Industrial Minerals Association North America.



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