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Trump’s Shadow Looms Large as Focus Shifts to Biden’s Performance

Trump faces trials in Washington, D.C., and Georgia on charges of trying to steal the 2020 election…reports Asian Lite News

The Republican presidential race ahead of the primaries to the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire meet in another 50 days should have been a referendum on former President Donald Trump, instead, it’s turning out to be a vote on President Joe Biden’s performance, because of the vice grip on the GOP that Trump holds, media reports said.

As the four presidential hopefuls prep up their debate Wednesday in Alabama for the 4th GOP debate, challengers like number two Nikki Haley and number three Ron DeSantis seem reluctant to make the GOP primary about Trump, perhaps wary of alienating the legions of Republican voters who have backed him in the past, media reports said.

The former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie, the most vocal critic of Trump, hasn’t gained much traction in his campaign, polling below 4 per cent in Iowa, while holding at third place in New Hampshire. Christie and other anti-Trump Republicans say the party has no choice but to focus on the former president, given his weakness with independent voters and the unprecedented fact that he is facing as many as four criminal trials in the coming year, USA TODAY reported.

“If Trump is our nominee, we will not only lose the presidency again, but we will lose both houses of Congress, and we will lose races up and down the ticket,” Christie told NewsNation in an interview. “He is political poison, up and down the ballot.”

Wednesday’s debate: Will Trump surface?

The non-Trump candidates will get another chance to discuss the frontrunner − or not − during Wednesday’s debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is the question. Trump himself plans to host a fundraiser in Florida, skipping the Alabama debate just as he did the three previous throw-downs in Pennsylvania, San Francisco and Milwaukee.

Pollsters and political analysts don’t expect the Trump issue to surface as they don’t gain much attention or traction with the republican voters during the debate because there’s little or no gain in it for the challengers. Most of Trump’s rivals are leery of attacking the GOP’s undisputed leader, fearing a backlash from grassroots Republican voters, they said.

Attacks on Trump seem to have strengthened him politically. Many Republican voters have rallied around him, regardless of whether the attacks have come from GOP rivals, President Joe Biden and the Democrats, or prosecutors and grand juries that have charged him with felony crimes, reports said.

Trump faces trials in Washington, D.C., and Georgia on charges of trying to steal the 2020 election. He was indicted in New York over hush money payments to an adult film actress, and in Florida on allegations of mishandling classified documents. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. “Criticism of Trump from any corridor makes him stronger in the Republican primary,” said Republican political consultant Mike Madrid, who opposes the ex-president’s campaign.

Trump holds leads of more than 45 percentage points in national polls compiled by the Real Clear Politics website.

Madrid added: “If politics was normal, this would be a referendum” on Trump. “But these are not normal times.”

Republican pollster Whit Ayres said there are basically three types of Republican voters: “Always Trump”, “Maybe Trump”, and “Never Trump”.

Challengers will need those Maybe Trump voters, he said, and that means they have to be careful in how they criticize the former president, making a case against him without offending the fence-sitters. Whatever the approach, the Republican race is all about Trump, whether candidates or pundits like it or not.

“It’s defined by Trump,” Ayres said. “He has such a big personality and has taken over the party.”

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Biden Picks Deven Parekh for Three More Years

In 2021, Parekh received the Robert F Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. He is also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute…reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden has nominated Indian-origin global venture capitalist Deven Parekh to the Board of Directors of the International Development Finance Corporation for a fresh term of three years.

Parekh is a Managing Director at Insight Partners, a growth equity investment fund based in New York City.

By statute, the Development Finance Corporation Board of Directors includes four members recommended to the President from Senate and House leadership.

Parekh is the nominee recommended by the Senate Majority Leader, the White House said in a statement.

Since joining Insight in 2000, Parekh has made more than 140 investments in enterprise software, data, and consumer internet businesses globally, including in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Australia.

In addition to his work at Insight and for the Development Finance Corporation, Parekh serves as a Board Member for the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, NYU Langone, the Tisch New York MS Research Center, and the Economic Club of New York.

He has previously served on the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Advisory Board of the US Export-Import Bank, and a Technical Advisory Council of the Federal Communications Commission.

In 2021, Parekh received the Robert F Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. He is also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.

Prior to joining Insight, Parekh was a Principal at Berenson Minella & Company, a New York-based merchant banking firm, where he served on the M&A Committee.

He also worked for Blackstone on M&A and other investment activities. Parekh has a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

The US International Development Finance Corporation is America’s development bank, and partners with the private sector to finance solutions to challenges facing the developing world.

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Biden Hits Trump on Law and Order

Biden’s team says such a policy would amount to police harassing citizens on the street…reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election campaign targetted his predecessor Donald Trump over his rhetoric on defunding police, arguing his policy prescriptions would lead to “a less safe America”.

Biden’s campaign points to past policies Trump has touted such as “stop and frisk”. It also hits the former president over his proposed cuts to community policing programmes while simultaneously criticising the “defund the police” movement, media reports said.

Biden’s birthday reminds voters ‘Bubble Wrap’ plan to protect him, the Washington Examiner said, claiming to have had an exclusive preview of his (Trump’s) vision for America in 2025.

When President, Trump took a hard line on policing projecting himself as a “law and order” president amid rising crime and racial justice protests. Trump called for drug dealers to receive the death penalty and even suggested that police be empowered to shoot shoplifters on the spot. The Biden campaign managers have capitalised on this offensive rhetoric to counter Trump’s, arguing his solutions to crime would actually leave America less safe.

Referring particularly to Trump’s past support for “stop and frisk,” the Biden team said it was a controversial much criticised police strategy with the potential risk of racial bias and an undue violation of individual’s privacy.

In 2018, Trump claimed, ″Stop and frisk works and it was meant for problems like Chicago.”

Biden’s team says such a policy would amount to police harassing citizens on the street.

On several occasions, Trump has also signalled his support for arming teachers with firearms to protect students from coming harm’s way in the event of a mass shooting by serial offenders. Republican politicians see this as a potential deterrent but has been categorically opposed by Democratic politicians.

Biden’s re-election team says such a policy would make America’s classrooms less safe.

“Political violence, harassing citizens in their own neighbourhoods, gunning down Americans at will, flooding classrooms with more guns. That’s what Donald Trump is promising if he’s elected president again. He’s proudly campaigning on a platform of fear, division and violence. He’s betting that a scared and divided nation is how he wins this election. It didn’t work in 2020, and it won’t work this time either,” Biden campaign spokesman Seth Schuster said in a statement, the Examiner reported.

The Biden campaign is attempting to portray Trump as weak on law enforcement, highlighting his administration’s proposal to disband the Community Relations Service and Community Oriented Policing Services and move their duties to other parts of the Justice Department. The administration at the time defended the proposal as a way to “improve efficiency,” but the Biden campaign is calling it part of a “dangerous MAGA agenda to defund law enforcement”.

Trump’s campaign did not provide comment to the Washington Examiner.

The Biden campaign has already hit the former president over his expected policies on abortion and immigration in a potential 2025 administration as it ramps up attacks on the likely Republican nominee.

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Biden Chairs 30th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

The leaders’ meeting, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, gathered political and business leaders from 21 APEC member economies…reports Asian Lite News

The 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting has kicked off in San Francisco with an aim to build a more interconnected, innovative, and inclusive APEC region.

The meeting, held on Thursday in Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco, was chaired by US President Joe Biden, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Our world stands at an inflexion point where the decisions we make now gonna determine the course of the world, not just a few of our countries, for the next several decades of consequence,” Biden said in his opening remarks.

“Every economy sees signs of what is to come if we don’t act,” he said.

“We’re responsible for the largest share of global missions. We must also bear responsibility for the solutions while we still have time to change course,” Biden noted.

The leaders’ meeting, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, gathered political and business leaders from 21 APEC member economies.

The meeting is the highlight of the APEC Leaders’ Week, held in San Francisco from November 11 to 17 with the theme of “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All”.

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Biden, Xi Stress Open Communication to Avoid Conflict in Summit Talks

Several top-level visits were exchanged between the two sides, leading up to the leaders’ summit in San Francisco…reports Asian Lite News

 US President Joe Biden told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday that they should keep their communications lines open and get to understand each other so as “to ensure that competition (between their countries) does not veer into conflict” while the Chinese President reiterated his opposition to describing the relationship as competition saying it “is not the prevailing trend of current times”.

The Chinese leader went on to warn that conflict and confrontation between the two countries will have “unbearable consequences” for both sides.

Biden hosted Xi at a mansion outside San Francisco where they are for the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. This was their first meeting in more than a year; they last met in Bali, Indonesia in September 2022 on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Ties between the two countries have been on a rollercoaster ride since, hitting a new low in June when a Chinese spy balloon entered US airspace and wafted across the American mainland till it was shot down by the US Air Force over the Atlantic Ocean.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken had postponed his visit to Beijing in protest and communications between the two sides plummeted even further. Beijing had snapped the military-to-military communication in August 2022 in anger over then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The Biden administration had been pressing the Chinese to reopen communications arguing, as the President reiterated to his Chinese counterpart, that the two sides need to talk to prevent a conflict of miscommunication or the failure to understand each other. Several top-level visits were exchanged between the two sides, leading up to the leaders’ summit in San Francisco.

“I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that we understand each other clearly, leader to leader with no misconceptions or miscommunication,” Biden said to Xi as they sat across a table with their delegations ahead of the talks. “We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict. And we also have to manage responsibly the competition.”

The Biden administration had framed the relationship with China as competition between two of the world’s largest economies and has announced major investments into equipping the United States for it, which includes preventing the export of critical components in the high-tech sector to China. The administration further defines its policy towards China as managing this competition.

The first step towards that goal is keeping the lines of communication open. 

Biden has been a long-time believer in personal meetings and interfaces with world leaders and his appeal to Xi on Wednesday to develop a “leader-to-leader” understanding was a piece of that framework.

Xi pushed back in his opening remarks. “The China-US relationship has never been smooth sailing over the past 50 years or more, and it always faces problems of one kind or another,” he said, speaking through a translator. 

“Yet it has kept moving forward amid twists and turns. For two large countries like China and the United States. turning their back on each other is not an option. It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation have unbearable consequences for both sides.”

He added: “‘I am still of the view that major country competition is not to the prevailing trend of current times and cannot solve the problems facing China and the United States or the world at large. Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.”

US officials have kept expectations from the visit low, highlighting essentially the need for the two countries to agree to keep talking and keep open the lines of communications — especially the military-to-military lines. They have also expressed the hope to discuss trade in Fentanyl. Chinese versions of these painkillers are flooding the US market, leading to high levels of dependence and addiction.

The Chinese side could be looking for some respite or concessions on the economy. The Chinese economy is struggling with record youth unemployment, a deepening crisis in the real estate sector and increasing export controls on high-tech components and growing reluctance on the part of international investors to go to China.

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Internal Battles Delay Biden’s $106B Aid Package for Israel, Ukraine

The people of Israel and Ukraine are waiting in vain for billions of dollars in help from the US as they wage existential fights for their futures; media reports said criticising Congressmen of inaction and fighting their own battles in the House…reports Asian Lite News

The US House passed a stopgap measure to keep government funding open to federal agencies, but President Joe Biden’s $106 billion funding package for Israel and Ukraine remains stuck as the two war-ravaged countries fight an existential crisis while Republicans and Democrats fight internal battles “mindlessly” in the House, media reports said.

The House of Representatives did manage to take steps Tuesday to avert a threatened government shutdown, passing a plan to temporarily fund the federal machinery. However, the Senate still needs to approve the measure, which would only delay the next funding deadlines until early next year, reports said.

The people of Israel and Ukraine are waiting in vain for billions of dollars in help from the US as they wage existential fights for their futures; media reports said criticising Congressmen of inaction and fighting their own battles in the House.

“The 118th Congress, which took an initial step to punt funding deadlines to the winter, looked more like a fourth-grade class on a day that will further erode trust in government ahead of next year’s elections,” a prominent US Media network said.  

Though the House voted for temporary reprieve, it was enough to expose the forces that could soon tear the chamber apart again. With 93 Republicans opposing the bill, Conservatives wonder what rookie Speaker Mike Johnson would do as he had failed to include massive spending cuts that GOP hardliners want in the bill, political analysts at CNN said.  

The Democratic-run Senate or the White House would certainly oppose any deep spending cuts as it runs roughshod through the party’s social welfare programmes. That would guarantee a shutdown that would damage the GOP and bring pain to millions of Americans, the analysts said.

This may go down well with some hard right-wingers in the Congress who abhor Washington and see chaos as a “worthy goal”. “But on the eve of President Joe Biden’s critical summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the political tomfoolery will only bolster perceptions among US adversaries that America’s global power is being undermined by polarization at home,” CNN said in its analysis.

Kevin McCarthy, the ousted Speaker of the House, was accused of delivering a painful blow to Rep. Tim Burchett, one of the GOP rebels who was among right-wingers who removed him from holding the gavel in the House. “It was a clean shot to the kidneys,” the Tennessean told CNN.

McCarthy denied the claim, blaming a tight hallway for the collision. Quick-witted McCarthy said: “If I kidney punched someone, they would be on the ground. But that wasn’t even the fiercest showdown of the day.”

Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz was engaged in a bitter exchange with House Oversight Chairman James Comer over the latter’s probe into the Biden family’s business affairs. 

Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, normally the ringmaster of the Capitol Hill circus, found herself overshadowed. 

Donald Trump-style stunt politics has often become dominant in the Capitol. Congress is consumed by fighting within and between the parties. And the febrile mood is only likely to intensify in the coming election year. Normal standards of decorum and respect have been thrown in the trash, and nearly three years after the Capitol insurrection, trust is fractured, political analysts at the network said.

Congressional leaders said the near altercations and foul tempers reflected the stress of an extraordinary session that saw the House sit for 10 weeks in a row, ignoring the fact such behaviour would be a sackable offence in many workplaces.

“Everybody’s tensions are high,” McCarthy said. South Dakota Sen. John Thune – a member of GOP leadership – noted with understatement that “we are living in fairly polarized times”. He said: “There is a lot going on not only here but around the world. Emotions are running high.”

Some people might see heart-breaking footage from the Middle East following the horrendous Hamas attacks against civilians and the carnage in Gaza wrought by Israel’s response – as a reason for greater seriousness among the nation’s leaders, analysts said.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, however, suggested that policing the Capitol was beyond even his wily capacity to enforce discipline within his conference. “It’s very difficult to control the behaviour of everybody who’s in the building. I don’t view that as my responsibility. That’s something the Capitol Police will have to deal with,” the Kentucky Republican said.

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Xi Welcomed by US Officials Ahead of Biden Summit

In the face of complex international landscapes and at a time when China-US relations are at a critical crossroads, Xi’s trip to the US has drawn worldwide attention…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in San Francisco for a summit with US President Joe Biden, and to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

He was received by California Governor Gavin Newsom, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other US representatives at San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Xi’s upcoming talks with Biden are the first meeting between the two heads of state since their vis-a-vis sit-down in Bali, Indonesia, a year ago. During their Bali talks, the two leaders reached a series of important common understandings.

In the face of complex international landscapes and at a time when China-US relations are at a critical crossroads, Xi’s trip to the US has drawn worldwide attention.

This year’s APEC meetings are themed “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All”. 

APEC as a whole faces downside risks from inflation, debt, climate change, geoeconomic fragmentation, trade protectionism and geopolitical issues in spite of upside opportunities from tourism rebound, increased consumption and targeted fiscal support, according to the APEC Regional Trends Analysis report published on Sunday.

At last year’s AEPC gathering in the Thai capital of Bangkok, Xi called for building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future.

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Biden Prepares for Summit with Xi

Asked about how he would define success with the upcoming summit with Xi, Biden said it would mean the normalization of bilateral communication…reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden has said that the US is not trying to “decouple” from China, but pursuing better relations with its assertive rival, as he prepares for a summit with the Chinese leader this week.

Biden’s remarks on Tuesday apparently set an amicable tone ahead of the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping slated to take place in San Francisco on Wednesday on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Yonhap news agency reported.

“As I told you, we are not trying to decouple from China,” he said during a press conference on efforts to address climate change. “What we are trying to do is change the relationship for the better.”

Asked about how he would define success with the upcoming summit with Xi, Biden said it would mean the normalization of bilateral communication.

“Get back on a normal course of corresponding, being able to pick up the phone and talk to one another in a crisis, being able to make sure our militaries still have contact with one another,” he said in response to the question.

But Biden staked out his position against China’s trade practices.

“I am not going to continue to sustain the support for positions where if we want to invest in China, we have to turn over all of our trade secrets,” he said.

In recent months, Washington has been hammering away at the mantra of “de-risking” the relationship with Beijing as it is striving to elicit international cooperation on climate change, public health, global security threats and other challenges.

US officials have said that Biden and Xi are expected to discuss a “whole range” of issues, including bilateral relations, North Korean threats, Taiwan, the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group, and Russia’s protracted war in Ukraine, according to them.

This week’s meeting between the leaders will be their second in-person summit following their last talks during the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, last November. It will also mark their seventh interaction since Biden took office in January 2021.

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White House Brushes Off Polls, Touts Democrat Wins in Off-Year Elections

Democrats campaigned heavily on abortion in both 2022 and 2023 with a lot of success. They’re likely to talk up the topic again next year…reports Asian Lite News

The White House has rubbished various polls claiming that President Joe Biden is trailing behind his predecessor Donald Trump in five states, as it pointed to Democrat victories in three states — Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky — in the off-year elections, saying “Voting matters and not Polls”.

The White House pointed at the ‘limitations’ of polling surveys, especially attacking the New York Times/Ipso survey, and others such as NBC and CBC to say that ultimately voters decide their choice at the ballot box as evidenced by the trends in the off-year 2023 elections to legislatures, governors, and judges’ vacancies in the Supreme Court.

It cited the overwhelming Democrat victories in Ohio and Kentucky, where the Republican agenda against abortion rights were rejected outright, media reports said.  

Politicos spent the early part of this week talking up a New York Times poll that found Biden losing to Trump in five key swing states and trailing a generic Democrat by 13 points.

That came to an abrupt end when election results started rolling in, something the Biden administration was happy to point out, the reports said.

‘ABORTION RIGHTS WIN OUT IN 2023 ELECTIONS, SHOWING GOP HASN’T FOUND FOOTING FOR 2024’ – screamed a Washington Examiner headline on the 2023 elections results.  

“We have always said that voting matters and polls do not,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

“Our focus is going to remain on our work to grow the economy, lower costs for families, and protect fundamental freedoms against dangerous agendas that are out of touch with the American people.”

Democrats won big in Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia, with Governor Andy Beshear winning re-election against a Trump-backed challenger, Ohio passing state-wide abortion protections, and Virginia holding off Governor Glenn Youngkin’s plans to turn the state legislature red.

The White House was quick to take a victory lap afterwards. Biden called several of the winning candidates, and both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris released statements about abortion, media reports said.

“President Biden’s values and agenda won big across the country last night,” Jean-Pierre said.

“In Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and in Virginia, voters once again sided with Biden’s agenda to stand up for fundamental freedoms, build an economy for the middle class, and protect democracy.”

The implication is that Biden himself will come out victorious during next November’s elections in spite of poor polling and historically bad approval ratings, the Washington Examiner reported, pointing to probable voting patterns in the presidential race of 2024, where abortion rights could be a major choice on voters’ agenda at the ballot box.

Democrats campaigned heavily on abortion in both 2022 and 2023 with a lot of success. They’re likely to talk up the topic again next year. 

“Voters in those states also turned out to roundly reject abortion bans that jeopardise the health and the lives of women,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Abortion bans would have forced women to travel hundreds of miles for care and threatened to criminalise doctors and nurses. The stakes could not have been higher. And last night, voters sent a very, very clear message,” media reports said.

Meanwhile, former presidential candidate of the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, said that people “want regular order”.

Hillary Clinton shared how Democratic wins across the nation in Tuesday’s elections show people are “moving away from the drama” ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

“People are kind of moving away from the drama, from, you know, all of the chaos. They want to just have regular order again,” Clinton was quoted by the Examiner as telling a news agency.

Clinton said the success of key Democratic victories provides insight into what voters are looking for in the 2024 presidential race.

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US $10 Trillion Shortage in Metals Imperils EV Industry Growth

Wall Street’s Insider says the $10 trillion shortfall in rare earth minerals like lithium, the white gold that runs the EVs, could upset the apple cart of the manufacturers and government plans…reports Asian Lite News

 US President Joe Biden government’s ambitious programme under climate change bill to phase out fossil fuel cars with electric vehicles (EVs) under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) could hit a road bump unless a $10 trillion shortfall in metals such as Lithium, critical to run the batteries for the EVs is resolved by the automobile industry.

The automobile industry, which is in a great rush to line up EV models across the US by 2024, needs $10 trillion worth of metals through 2050. Otherwise, it won’t be able to keep up with these lofty EV goals as 20 leading automakers in the US, including GM, Ford, Stellantis, and other European, Japanese and South Korean car makers based in North America ramp up production, investors in Wall Street say.

The EV rush, being compared to the great Gold Rush in California decades ago, is due to the global pressures to reduce carbon emissions, of which the fossil fuel driver cars on petrol and diesel are the main culprits. Automakers are in a great race to the 2030 deadline of emission control in the US and total phase out of petrol/diesel-driven cars by 2050.

The US government is pumping as much as $325 billion into the Green Energy Plan where EV rush is a key component in terms of tax credits and other concessions and fossil fuel phase out. Under the IRA, Biden has offered tax credits of $7500 per customer buying the EV car and a $3,750 credit on batteries and accessories.

Major automobile companies of the US such as GM, Ford, Stellantis, Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, and European car makers Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Jeep, and Japanese car makers Nissan, Toyota, Honda and South Korean Hyundai, KIA are racing against time to avail the concessions and roll out EV cars in 2024, media reports say. The stipulation’s concessions apply only to cars manufactured in North America. 

But Wall Street’s Insider says the $10 trillion shortfall in rare earth minerals like lithium, the white gold that runs the EVs, could upset the apple cart of the manufacturers and government plans. And it’s why automakers are racing to secure a long-term supply of metals like lithium.

So far, Ford has signed 11-year contracts in multiple continents to secure lithium supplies. GM took it a step ahead investing $650 million directly into the largest lithium project in the US and Tesla could spend $1 billion building a lithium refinery that could supply one million vehicles.

But even this might not be enough. It takes a long time to bring new lithium mines online. It took more than five years for mines in the last decade to go from discovery to production, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), says Nomi Prins, who runs Wall Street Insider, a think-tank and a publication of the Manhattan investors.  

So, all the lofty ideals and billions of dollars flowing to support the EV rollout could still be in jeopardy unless there is a major battery breakthrough. The government has big ambitions for Americans’ next car. 

Around 41 per cent of the population in the US want an EV alternative feeling the squeeze on gas prices that have jumped as high as $4 to $5 per barrel (3.03 litre make one barrel) and oil and POL (Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants) shortages due to the wars between Russia and Ukraine, and Israel and Hamas in the Middle East are driving crude prices as high as $100 a barrel as supply chains across the world are disrupted causing shortages.

As there is no reprieve from this, most car buyers in the US want an EV as a second vehicle and some middle class buyers opt for EV as their first choice to beat oil prices in maintaining their cars. On an average in a car country like the US, where public transportation is not strong, every family has three cars to run — husband, wife and children.

As EVs are becoming a favourite choice with buyers, as they are part of the big energy transition that’s underway in the US, fast-tracking EV adoption is one of the most important pawns in the government’s green fight, Inside Wall Street says.

“We can see that in fresh spending coming from Washington D.C. There’s $135 billion flooding into the EV sector from federal spending bills. Bills like the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Law. That money will go into everything from tax credits to incentivise EV purchases…To ramping up domestic EV production…To building out the charging infrastructure across the nation, says Nomi Prins.

Government rules could force automakers to boost EV production. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new emission standards. These could help EVs take market share away from fossil fuel vehicles. With these standards, 67 per cent of new vehicle sales could be EVs in 2032. That compares to just 5.8 per cent in the US last year. That means the federal government is leveraging tax credits to boost the EV sector. Its goal is to make half of all vehicles sold in the US zero-emission by 2030.

One major problem that threatens to bring the entire EV rollout to a screeching halt. Inside Wall Street editor Nomi Prins explains why it’s the $10 trillion question every investor should be asking in 2023 which has all the major automakers scrambling. Big ambitions by the government mean that automakers are ramping up plans for EV production.

General Motors (GM) wants capacity for one million EV units by 2025. It has said it wants to beat Tesla as the EV sales leader in the US. Not to be left behind, Ford is jumping in, too. It said it will sell two million EVs a year starting in 2026. And it’s not just US-based manufacturers. Toyota is targeting 3.5 million units by 2030.

To meet those lofty EV targets, automakers are scrambling to secure the building blocks that power EVs. Battery metals. A typical EV battery is made up of metals like nickel, manganese, cobalt and graphite. And there’s one metal in particular that could prevent EVs from ever becoming mainstream, Inside Wall Street says.

That metal is lithium. It has become so important to the EV supply chain that many people call it “white gold”. Lithium-ion batteries are the workhorse for EVs. A typical battery contains about 13 pounds of lithium. But there’s a problem. The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the auto industry could be facing shortages of lithium as soon as 2025.

New lithium mining projects are struggling to keep pace with all the demand that’s coming. And that’s forcing automakers into a new line of business. History is repeating itself. The shift to EVs is one of the biggest distortions in the energy markets right now. But if history is any guide, it’s also a money-making opportunity. 

In 2012 automakers went through a change as big as this one. That’s when technology took over cars. Features like GPS, music streaming, lane control, and assisted parking were either non-existent or very limited. Until smartphone tech started taking over the car’s dashboard. Most new cars today have something resembling an iPad built into the dashboard. And they have about 3,000 microchips powering 70+ sensors.

But the automakers weren’t the biggest winners in that smart car revolution. Instead, the real winners were companies that could leverage the technology going into vehicles. Like semiconductor companies. The global market for chips in the auto sector today stands at almost $70 billion. That’s up 175 per cent from 2012.

Chip companies with large automotive sales like NXP Semiconductors and ST Microelectronics saw their stock prices soar as a result. But over the same time, automakers like GM and Ford fell behind.

As technology drives the EV market through semiconductors and chips for the dashboard controls, believe it or not, APPLE, the world’s biggest Iphone, Ipad and laptops-maker is jumping into the race to build an EV. SONY, into movie production and smartphones and music systems and TVs, also hopes to roll out an EV car by 2025. 

But the EV is right now an expensive option, experts say, as bottom-line prices are $40,000 for a Tesla base model to anything as high as $80,000 to $400,000 dollars for a Mercedes Benz or BMW or Rolls Royce Phantom EV. 

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