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Trade

Raw materials

Raw materials are the basis of a large number of industrial value chains in the EU. Specific raw materials are needed to make a wide range of industrial goods such as car engines, mobile phones or wind turbines.

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The EU raw materials industry in a nutshell:

  • A large number of industries use raw materials as inputs, providing a total added value of €1,300 billion.
  • 30 million people are employed in the raw materials' industrial sector.
  • A sustainable supply of particular raw materials is of crucial importance for the development of green technologies.

EU trade policy and raw materials

Raw materials play a significant role in EU trade policy. In concrete terms, the European Commission developed a fully-fledged strategy for raw materials, which was outlined in the 2008 Communication entitled the Raw Materials Initiative. This was revised in February 2011 in a Communication, which further boosted the integration of raw material priorities in EU policies.

EU trade policy is actively committed to ensuring that international raw materials markets operate in a free and transparent manner. For this purpose, the EU’s trade strategy relies on three pillars:

  • Defining the rules of the game through bilateral and multilateral negotiations;
  • Enforcing the rules and tackling market barriers when required, and;
  • Promoting the debate on raw materials, both in bilateral and multilateral settings.

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