BRUSSELS, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The European Union and Chile
struck a partnership on Friday that will liberalise more trade
between the two and give EU companies greater access to raw
materials such as lithium and copper that are key to the EU's
The partnership, which includes cooperation on climate
change, justice and science, is part of an EU push to forge
alliances to respond to the fallout from Russia's invasion of
Ukraine and concerns over its economic dependence on China.
On raw materials, the agreement means EU companies will be
less hindered by Chile's dual pricing system for domestic use or
exports and potential export monopolies, while still allowing
Chile to promote domestic processing.
More than 60% of EU imports of lithium are from Chile, the
world's largest copper producer and second largest lithium
producer, while China controls nearly two-thirds of the world's
processing of lithium into battery-grade material.
"This is certainly going to be an agreement that helps us to
diversify our resources and move out of dependence on China, in
particular at this stage about lithium and copper," an EU
The two partners would treat EU and Chilean investors the
same as domestic investors in each other's markets, including in
energy and raw materials.
The new trade agreement will extend the existing deal from
2003 that already liberalised trade in some 96% of product
lines. With the notable exception of sugar, the new agreement
will liberalise the rest.
It will increase EU quotas for Chilean poultry and other
meats and for olive oil. The EU will be able to sell more dairy
produce, notably cheese.
It will also expand on a system to reserve food and drinks
names to products made in the places where they originate. So
"prosecco", for example, will only be used for sparkling wine
There will also be a liberalisation of services, such as
deliveries, telecoms, maritime transport and financial services,
and of access to public sector contracts.
The trade aspects require approval from the European
Parliament and EU governments to enter force, which could be in
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop
Editing by Mark Potter)