CRM Alliance Quarterly Newsletter - Spring Edition 2021
Dear Readers,

Welcome to the Spring 2021 edition of the CRM Alliance Quarterly newsletter.

We wish you a pleasant reading!
In this issue
CRM Alliance Updates
  • CRM Alliance CRM Day webinar
  • BeST BeResponsible webinar
  • Cobalt Institute New Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and New Communications Manager
  • Vanitec next event
  • International Antimony Association New REACH Manager
  • IMA next conference and monthly newsletter
  • Indium Corporation receives prizes
  • Beta next event
  • MMTA 2021 Conference
  • T.I.C. Price

Public Consultations
  • European Commission publishes update on the New Industrial Strategy
  • CLP Revision
  • REACH Revision
  • High-level roundtable on CSS meets for the first time
  • EU industry concerned about the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
  • Trade talks between the EU and Australia continue
  • EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy published
  • Trade Policy Review
  • RoHS General Review
  • Raw Materials Summit 2021
CRM Alliance Updates
CRM Day webinar
CRM Alliance held a webinar on 21 April 2021 on the new EU Industrial Strategy and Trade Policy to discuss the challenges and opportunities for CRMs. The report of the webinar is available here.

BeST BeResponsible webinar
BeST hosted its first 2021 webinar titled “Be Responsible – Working Safely with Beryllium” on 24 March 2021.

New Head of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs ad New Communications Manager
The Cobalt Institute welcomed Caroline Braibant as Head of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs and Marina Demidova as communications manager.
Vanitec next event

VANITEC will hold their 101st Vanitec Meeting on 19-21 October 2021 in Leshan, China.
New REACH Manager
The International Antimony Association welcomed
Tom Griffiths as REACH Manager.

IMA next conference
IMA announced the date for their 78th Annual IMA World Magnesium Virtual Conference, which will take place from 23 to 27 August 2021.
IMA newsletters are now available to the public. To read the latest one, click here.
Indium Corporation receives prizes
The Indium Corporation was awarded with two prizes:

Beta next event

Beta announced they will be participating in the EU Green Week Partner Event on Health and Environment Dynamics.
MMTA 2021 Conference
MMTA updated the date of the MMTA’s International Minor Metals Conference, which will take place from 12 to 14 September 2021 in Charleston, USA.
T.IC. Prize
The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.)  published a call for publications for The Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize 2021. The deadline to submit a publication is 31 May 2021.

European Commission publishes update on the New Industrial Strategy
On 5 May, the European Commission published an update on the New Industrial Strategy, taking full account of the circumstances following the pandemic, while maintaining the priorities of the previous strategy. 
The Communication “Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe's recovery” addresses several requests from Member States on the assessment of the resilience of the Single Market, the identification of strategic dependencies in key vulnerable ecosystems, and the selection of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor the implementation of the Strategy. The New Industrial Strategy includes three staff working documents that reflect on several of the main goals of the strategy: The Annual Single Market Report 2021, an analysis of strategic dependencies and capacities, and a document on a competitive and clean European steel.
Regarding CRMs, the strategy addresses the issue of dealing with strategic dependencies in the EU, presenting an analysis of the raw materials industry. Based on the analysis, the Commission sets out the following objectives: building resilient value chains in the EU, promoting investment in mining processing projects, expanding international cooperation with neighboring partners and African countries, and promoting sustainable sourcing of raw materials in Europe.
Overall, the Revised Industrial Strategy and complementary documents acknowledge the importance of raw materials and CRMs for the EU industry as well as their pivotal role in achieving carbon neutrality. 
CLP Revision
On 4 May, the Commission published its roadmap on the revision of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP), laying out its policy objectives. 

The European Commission is considering, among others, to introduce:
  • new hazard classes;  
  • reporting requirements on hazardous substances to poison centres;
  • a mandate for the Commission to request ECHA to develop new CLP dossiers; and  
  • a system to set harmonized environmental and safety values for certain substances.   

Stakeholders may submit comments to the CLP roadmap from 4 May 2021 until 1 June 2021. In terms of timeline, the European Commission is expected to open a second round of public consultations in Q2 2021, publish the impact assessment in Q4 2021 and disclose its draft proposal in 2022.  
REACH Revision 
On 4 May, the European Commission published its roadmap to revise the REACH Regulation, as part of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS). The Commission is expected to make wide-ranging changes to REACH, including the addition of PMT and vPvM properties to the criteria for the identification of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).

Moreover, the inception impact assessment indicates that the European Commission is considering to: 
  • revise REACH registration requirements;
  • introduce a Mixture Assessment Factor (MAF) in REACH Annex I to address the risks of exposure to several substances combined;
  • simplify communication in the supply chain;
  • reform REACH authorization and restriction processes;
  • revise the provisions for control and enforcement.

A tentative timeline on the review of the REACH Regulation foresees the following: (i) a four-week    feedback period on the roadmap from 4 May to 1 June 2021, (ii) supporting actions between Q1 2021 and Q1 2022, (iii) impact assessment between Autumn 2021 and Summer 2022, (iv) three-month public consultation from January to March 2022, (v) drafting of the proposal for the revision of REACH in 2022 and (vi) Commission adoption of the proposal in Q4 2022.

The European Commission has also published a draft act proposing to amend Annex XVII on restricted substances of REACH by including substances recently classified as CMRs. Comments may be submitted till 2 June 2021 and Commission adoption is expected for Q4 2021.   
High-level roundtable on CSS meets for the first time
On 16 April, the Commission disclosed the full list of members of the newly formed high-level roundtable on the implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. The roundtable consists of 32 members classified in groups: Member State Authorities (Portugal – current Presidency), third sector organizations, scientific organizations, academia and research institutes, industries and business associations and international organizations.
The mission of the roundtable is to discuss the objectives of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and to monitor its implementation in dialogue with concerned stakeholders.
Discussions will focus in particular on how to support the transition to safe and sustainable chemicals and to a toxic- free environment. Moreover, the group will discuss how to boost the development of innovative safe and sustainable chemicals, materials and products. On the contrary, it was highlighted that these discussions will not replace formal consultations and stakeholder engagement. The first meeting took place on 5 May 2021.

EU steel industry concerned about the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in Europe 
The Commission has confirmed that EU industries targeted by the EU carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will no longer be eligible for free CO2 allowances under the EU emissions trading scheme. Several members in the EU steel industry have raised concerns on this issue, claiming that carbon taxes will have indirect consequences on sustainable investment.

The CBAM aims to combat “carbon leakage”, where companies transfer production to countries with lower carbon costs or import finished products from these countries to avoid carbon taxes. Mr. Koefoed Quinn, a senior official at the Commission’s climate directorate, stated that, while several options are being considered, CO2 allowances are not WTO-compatible and that, by taking away free CO2 credits, the industry will be encouraged to invest in sustainable practices for steel production.

Steelmakers, on the other hand, argue that free CO2 allowances are essential to industry and, without them, investing in green energy will be unlikely. Replacing coal with hydrogen would cost €1 billion of capital expenditure for every one million tonnes of steel produced, with around 160 million tonnes of steel produced each year in Europe. To finance these investments, free CO2 allowances must continue.

While there is a consensus that green hydrogen is the most sustainable solution for the steel industry, the industry shares the concern that the increased operating costs arising from carbon taxes will hinder the industry’s ability to invest in green energy. The Commission has acknowledged these concerns and, while they may introduce a transition phase, they have made it clear that CO2 allowances will be phased out.

The CBAM proposal is expected to be disclosed as part of a climate policy package in June.
Trade talks between the EU and Australia continue
On 19 March 2021, the EU and Australia concluded their 10th round of negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. The negotiations were held via a series of videoconferences by officials from the European Commission and Australia.

28 working groups met to discuss all aspects of the future trade agreement, going over textual proposals discussed in prior rounds. The parties agreed in principle on certain parts of the agreement that were acceptable to both sides. For instance, the chapters on Customs and Trade Facilitation and on Delivery Services were provisionally adopted during the round.

Negotiators reached an agreement on the objectives in the Chapter for Dispute Settlement and Mediation, which include transparent and efficient dispute settlement procedures, while further negotiations need to be held on import and export licensing procedures and non-tariff measures. The text of the chapter on public procurement is already complete, however, progress is still needed in reference to determining market access. Finally, for the Chapter of Energy and Raw Materials, negotiators discussed finding a solution on environmental impact assessments, offshore safety, and third-party access.

Overall, the discussions were deemed constructive and both parties shared a commitment to reach a comprehensive agreement that was beneficial for both sides. Further discussions on these chapters and several follow up actions are to be decided during the 11th negotiation round planned in June 2021.
EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy published
On 21 April, the European Commission adopted a series of measures on sustainable finance to help define what can be labelled as sustainable and to improve the distribution of capital towards sustainable activities. The package is comprised of: (I) an EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act, (II) a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, and (III) six amending Delegated Acts on fiduciary duties, investment and insurance advice.
The EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated act provides the first set of technical screening criteria to define which activities contribute extensively to climate change adaptation and mitigation, two of the primary objectives in the Taxonomy Regulation. The Delegated Act will cover economic activities of 40% of the companies listed in the EU, in sectors such as energy, forestry, manufacturing, transport and buildings.
The proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive aims to bring sustainability reporting on a par with financial reporting. The Directive will extend sustainability reporting requirements to all large and listed companies with separate reporting standards for large companies and SMEs. The proposal will also simplify the reporting process for companies, providing a “one-stop-shop” for reporting across the EU.
The six amending Delegated Acts on fiduciary duties, investment and insurance advice aim to encourage the financial system to support sustainable businesses and businesses on the path to becoming sustainable. Financial advisers, together with their clients, will need to discuss methods for sustainability when assessing a client’s suitability for an investment. Manufacturers of financial products will also need to consider sustainability factors in the design of their products.
The EU Taxonomy Delegated Act will be formally adopted by the Commission at the end of May, once the Delegated Act is translated in all official languages, it will be sent to the European Parliament and to the Council. The Parliament and the Council will then have a period of 4 months to scrutinize the Delegated Act before it enters into force.
The second EU Taxonomy delegated act will allegedly cover mining and extracting of critical raw materials. Public consultations for the second act will be held in June and is expected to be adopted in Q1 2022. 
Trade Policy Review
On 18 February, the European Commission published its new Communication on the Trade Policy Review - an Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy.

The communication sends a strong message that the EU trade policy will contribute to green and digital transformations, shape rules that will drive sustainable growth globally, and be more assertive in pursuing EU interests and enforcing its own rights. Moreover, the review promotes strengthening trade relationships with key partners such as the U.S., China, and African nations. 

The review sets out objectives to:
  • reform the WTO;
  • support sustainable value chains;
  • incorporate green standards in future FTAs;
  • promote the digital transition and trade in services; 
  • strengthen the EU's regulatory impact;
  • deepen the EU's partnerships with neighbouring countries and enlargement countries;
  • strengthen the implementing and enforcement action of trade agreements and ensure a level playing field for EU businesses.

Within its Communication, the Commission recognizes the EU’s dependence on imports which provide access to CRMs, stating that 60% of imports are used to produce EU goods. In regard to CRMs, the review promotes the model of “open strategic autonomy”. There are ongoing negotiations with potential partners for CRMs, such as Chile, Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, the sustainable dimension also applies in the trade of CRMs, with the review calling for sustainable sourcing from foreign countries. 
RoHS General Review
On 14 April, the European Commission published its report on the evaluation of the RoHS Directive. The report is based on a study prepared by the two external consultants Ecorys and Ramboll in March and concludes that, while the Directive has been successful in reaching the objective of reducing hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) in the EU, there were delays in assessing and approving exemptions.
The aim of the study was to assist the Commission in the process of evaluating the RoHS II Directive. Article 24(2) of the Directive requires the Commission to present its findings on the general review before 22 July 2021. As established in the Better Regulation Guidelines (COM(2015)215 and SWD(2017)350), the evaluation assesses the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the Directive.
The study listed the following conclusions: First, the Directive has been successful in reaching the objective of reducing hazardous substances in EEE in the EU. The reduction of hazardous substances has contributed to: (1) the protection of human health and the environment, at different stages of the value chain and (2) to the harmonization and functioning of the internal market, by setting clear standards and providing a level playing field for manufacturers of EEE. 
Second, compliance with RoHS is considered to be high, implementation mechanisms function as intended and no significant negative effects could be identified. It is unlikely that similar effects could have been achieved without RoHS.
Third, a few areas of possible improvement were identified: While the exemption process was deemed relevant and important, industry representatives highlighted issues with delays in assessing and approving exemptions, which negatively impact their investment strategies and business development.
Finally, the commitment of the EU to the transition to a circular economy and a specific focus on electronic equipment as a “key product value chain” may lead to a re-assessment of some of the central mechanisms of RoHS. In particular, there is a challenge related to recycled material as strict and comprehensive restriction of hazardous substances under the RoHS Directive may limit the possibilities for uptake of recycled material in the production of new EEE. 
Raw Materials Summit 2021
On 19 May, ERMA announced the RawMaterials Summit 2021, the global innovation and technology conference in the raw materials sector, which will take place on 17 June.
The event will gather prominent speakers from the raw materials value chain, key policymakers, and European Commission representatives. With more than 700 global participants last year, the RawMaterials Summit hosted the launch of ERMA (European Raw Materials Alliance) and addressed critical challenges for the industry. 
Registration is now open.
Public Consultations
  • Chemicals legislation – revision of REACH Regulation (link here) - Deadline on 01 June
  • Revision of EU legislation on hazard classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (link here) - Deadline on 01 June 
  • Chemicals regulation (REACH) – updated list of restricted substances (link here) - Deadline 02 June