SAFE’s Abigail Hunter Testifies on Comprehensive Trade Approach for Critical Mineral Supply Security

Washington, D.C.Abigail Hunter, Executive Director of SAFE’s Center for Critical Mineral Strategy (Minerals Center) testified today at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on policy mechanisms to support secure and reliable access to global critical mineral supplies.

The United States faces a pressing challenge in securing reliable access to the critical minerals needed to power the clean energy transition and maintain our economic competitiveness. As demand skyrockets, we must confront the reality that America cannot meet its mineral needs through domestic production alone. While we can and should be doing more to responsibly access domestic resources, geological realities mean the U.S. will never be self-sufficient in mineral supply, necessitating strategic global collaboration with allies and partners to build resilient supply chains.

“The U.S. approach to trade policy in the critical minerals sector has largely been fragmented and reactive, focusing on narrow issues or specific segments of the supply chain rather than taking a comprehensive view of the entire supply chain from mine to market,” said Hunter. “We believe that a comprehensive, proactive approach to trade policy can help ensure the long-term resilience and sustainability of critical mineral supply chains.”

This approach should include measures to:

  1. Promote high environmental, social, and governance standards throughout the supply chain, from mining to recycling, and impede trade in cheaper, dirtier products.
  2. Encourage the development of diverse and responsible sources of supply, both domestically and among allies and other strategic partners. This will require exploring joint investment opportunities and leveraging the comparative advantages of like-minded countries to optimize regional supply chains.
  3. Counter unfair trade practices and market distortions that undermine U.S. competitiveness and hinder the development of secure and sustainable supply chains. The United States should employ trade remedies strategically while building international support for a global level playing field.
  4. Foster greater international cooperation and coordination on critical mineral issues, including through the development of shared standards, joint investment frameworks, and multilateral initiatives. Platforms like the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) offer a strong foundation to build upon and operationalize high-standard, secure supply chains.

The full comment letter from SAFE’s Minerals Center can be viewed here. The Center’s forthcoming report on trade policy, which will articulate its policy recommendations in greater detail, will be released later this spring.

About SAFE’s Center for Critical Minerals Strategy (CCMS)
The Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy aims to secure all aspects of the critical minerals supply chain to help ensure the national and economic security of the United States and our allies as we transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a minerals based economy. CCMS is the sole NGO partner for private sector engagement to the State Department through the MINVEST project. The Center is also home to the Sub-Committee on Opportunities and Risks in the Critical Mineral Sector (SCOR) project with Appian Capital.

About SAFE
SAFE is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization committed to transportation, energy, and supply chain policies that advance the economic and national security of the United States, its partners, and allies. SAFE has convened business and former military leaders since 2004 to support secure, resilient, and sustainable energy solutions. Learn more at