This article is part of Watching Washington, a regular program by CBC News correspondents covering US policies and developments affecting Canadians.
Canada’s industry minister was in Washington to bid on projects north of the border for access to US federal funds for critical minerals.
The journey of François-Philippe Champagne took place after the passport of the USA multiple bills Offer large sums of money for green energy and other high-tech projects.
They include hundreds of millions for President Joe Biden to direct certain projects under the US Defense Production Act.
As a legal member the US industrial base and home for several Of the critical minerals that power electric batteries, Canada is hoping some cross-border projects could qualify.
“Yes, there are sums in these laws that Canadian companies can tap into,” Champagne, the Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, told reporters at the Canadian Embassy in Washington on Friday.
“We will work on that with Canadian industry. To be embedded in these very important initiatives.”
He was speaking at the end of a trip where he met his US counterpart, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and NASA head Bill Nelson spoke with a business audience.
What is the context
The background is the rivalry with China and Russia. Washington is increasingly unnerved at being dependent on its biggest geopolitical enemy, China, for the minerals that power the economy: phones, computers, clean technology and electric vehicles.
China dominates the market and once Japan cut access to these vital industrial inputs. Just as Russia has now cut Europe off from exporting heating gas.
The US is now working to separate its high-tech economy from China’s and jRestricted exports only of advanced computer chips to this country; the US have define broad strategies for breaking its dependency on Chinese goods.
Champagne said countries with similar values should lean more on each other and less on rivals like China.
“What we want is certainly decoupling: certainly from China, and I would say from other regimes around the world that don’t share the same values,” he told a panel hosted by the Canadian American Business Council.
“People want to trade with people who really share the same values.”
CLOCK | The Future of Canada’s Supply Chains:
Speaking on a similar topic in Washington this month, Canadian Deputy Minister Chrystia Freeland advocated friend-shoring: She said democracies should strengthen economic and military ties and rely more on each other for trade.
Champagne called this a golden opportunity to rewrite supply chains as the world shifts to electric vehicles and more trade with trusted allies.
He gave examples of how Canada is fitting in.
For example, he said he envisions a future where New York State and Quebec form a semiconductor corridor, similar to the auto manufacturing corridor in Windsor and Detroit: While Detroit’s Big Three move parts between their plants on either side, he said, an IBM computer components could move back and forth to works.
He also noted Canadian spending on a critical mineral factory in Quebec: Champagne said the titanium produced there will benefit the US military.
During his trip, Champagne also received a backlash on two bills currently in Parliament, his government’s bills C-18 and C-11.
They would require large Internet platforms compensate Canadian news organizations for content they run and give CRTC new power over online content.
A director of a major US business lobby group, Abel Torres at the US Chamber of Commerce, Champagne said the bills discriminate against US websites; breach trading obligations; contradict the principles of an open internet; and give companies little guidance on how Canadian regulators intend to use their new powers.
“We think these measures are a step in the wrong direction,” he told Champagne during Friday’s economic panel.
CLOCK | What is the US Inflation Reduction Act?
Canada has increasingly secured a place in the emerging zero-emission vehicle supply chains: companies have announced new plants and the just-passed US Omnibus Act defined cars in Canada as eligible for a domestic electric vehicle tax credit.
But the fine print on this so-called Inflation Reduction Act has yet to be released. Also missing: Details on which projects will gain access to funds under the Defense Production Act.
Car companies have complained that so few models qualify for the EV tax credit to make them meaningless: companies to say There just aren’t enough minerals and batteries made in friendly countries to be eligible for the credits as intended.
We should have more clarity on how the tax credits will work in the coming months.
The US is still drafting rules for implementing the law and the US government announced This month people have until November 4th make public comments as part of this process.