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Justin Trudeau Says Lithium Production In China Engages Slave Labor

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday associated the production of lithium in China to “slave labour”. The comment came as he discussed his own nation’s efforts to increase production of the metal used in electric vehicle and other batteries.

Despite the fact that China is now by far the world’s largest producer due to its calculated decisions, Trudeau noted that Canada still has significant lithium resources.

“If we’re honest … the lithium produced in Canada is going to be more expensive. Because we don’t use slave labor.” Trudeau made this statement during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“Because we put forward environmental responsibility as something we actually expect to be abided by. Because we count on working with, in partnership, with Indigenous peoples, paying their living wages, expecting security and safety standards,” he added.

After the global pandemic exposed supply chain issues, Canada last year announced a stricter policy on critical mineral investment, particularly from China. This was done in an effort to support its domestic supply.

“If the pandemic taught us anything, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s resilience, redundancy and reliability in our supply chains,” Trudeau said.

China is allegedly using forced labour, notably in the mining and construction industries, according to the claims by United States. Due to worries about forced labour, a US regulation went into effect last year prohibiting imports from the Xinjiang province of China.

After a study by the United Kingdom’s Sheffield Hallam University suggested that nearly every major automaker has a sizable exposure to goods made with forced labour, the United Auto Workers union demanded in December that automakers move their entire supply chain out of Xinjiang.

China, a major cotton grower that also provides a large portion of the world’s solar panel materials, denies that abuses are taking place in Xinjiang.

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