1.     Chinese gigafactory in Morocco

Morocco has signed an MoU with a Chinese electric batter manufacturer to create the first gigafactory in the country.

‘Gotion’ the Chinese EV battery cell manufacturer is a Volkswagen partner is a Shanghai company with operations in the US, Singapore and Germany. Volkswagen is the largest single shareholder in the company.

The Moroccan Government and battery manufacturer have struck a deal which equates to $6.3 bn total eventual investment, creating 25,000 jobs.

Gotion recently did a press release that said it created a battery using lithium-manganese-iron-phosphate (LMFP) instead of traditional minerals nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM). It says the new combination is cheaper, lighter and longer range than NCM.

Morocco is home to Renault, Stellantis manufacturing plants and some Peugots are assembled there.

2.     Africa trade book

Image Harshil Gudka via Unsplash

A new book by an LSE Professor aims to point out current issues with Africa and trade and offer solutions.

How Africa Trades edited by David Luke promises to cure ills and solve problems caused by Africa itself when trading with the West. Some would argue that the problems are caused by the West itself, but that issue doesn’t seem to be on Mr. Luke’s radar in this book. He deems the nonachievement of export targets as a fault of the continent rather than a flawed Western system that thinks it can set targets itself to reap rewards of rare minerals and resources.

Counting natural resources, Africa is one of the richest nations on earth. It has 40% of the world’s gold, up to 90% of its chromium and platinum, the largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum, and uranium. Why should Africa be driven by the West’s underpriced demand for its resources, is a question not answered in the book.

Trade Horizons advisors are market entry experts: our team of in-country experts assist companies to export, import and enter new locations by using strategies that have stood the test of time and evidence-based advice. Trade Horizons assists companies to plan to distribute and deliver goods or services to a new target market. Contact one of our experts today.

3.     US UK Atlantic Declaration

Image Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Str

Rishi Sunak travelled to the US last week to meet US President Joe Biden. During the trip they failed to sign a free trade deal but instead agreed a bilateral green funding arrangement ‘Atlantic Declaration’.

The declaration means that UK electric vehicle companies may have access to the subsidies in the IRA Inflation Reduction Act.

Biden called Sunak ‘Mr President’ and then said ‘Mr Prime Minister, I just demoted you.’

The FT says the new ‘profound unpredictability of the US’ makes the new reality less ambitious than it may have been in the past.

The Daily Mail says the ‘shared promise to tackle China’ brought them closer however in recent weeks news has broken about Biden’s personal relationship and unbeknonst financial flows from China.

The Guardian says the leaders share a willingness to ‘make do.’

Whilst the new declaration may appear to some as if they are wishing to look like they are getting something done, it does commit the US and UK to work on a critical minerals agreement which may remove duties and barriers to trade for UK electric vehicle manufacturers.

4.     AECOM wins three new hydrogen projects

Image Liquid Hydrogen Tank at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

US consulting firm AECOM has been appointed in three separate hydrogen projects to oversee operations.

In the French project AECOM is to oversee the expansion of Chermours operations. Chermours is a US chemical and chip company that manufactures electrolysers. The company said the electrolysers are ‘ideally suited’ for green hydrogen production and wants to expand production of its Nafion membranes for hydrogen production.

UK energy company ATOME has appointed AECOM for its Iceland and Paraguay operations. ATOME was the first UK green hydrogen and ammonia company listed on the UK stock exchange. Its largest operations are in Iceland and Paraguay.

5.     Hydrogen vs electric battery vehicles

Image Toyota Mirai by Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) via Wikimedia Commons

Toyota has produced the first commercially available hydrogen cell vehicle, the Mirai, which is available in the US, Japan and Europe. Since 2015 Honda produced the Clarity hydrogen Fuel Cell and Hyundai produced the Nexo hydrogen SUV however Honda has since discontinued all Clarity variants, while Hyundai has sold fewer than 1500 Nexo SUVs so far. The Toyota Mirai has experienced limited success and is subject to heavy discounts due to lack of demand.

Hydrogen cars run on a hydrogen powered fuel cell which is lighter than a typical battery. However, fuelling a hydrogen car will always be more expensive than recharging a battery powered car and you need you need three to four times more wind turbines to drive the same distance with a hydrogen car than with a battery-electric car. Hydrogen is currently three times more expensive to produce than petrol and may have a larger global warming impact than carbon dioxide.

6.     Chinese EV pick-up truck in Thailand

Image Geely

Reuters has reported that Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Geely intends to enter Thailand with an electric pick-up truck.

The story is unconfirmed by the company and lists anonymous sources.

Geely has recently announced a £234 million pound investment in ailing legacy luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin after which shares jumped 25%.

7.     UK beats EU for financial services FDI

Image Benjamin Davies via Unsplash

According the EY’s UK attractiveness survey, the UK is the most attractive destination for financial services investment.

The report says the UK attracted 17% growth in financial services inward investment in 2022 compared to Europe which grew just 5% in the same period.

The UK attracted 76 financial services projects in 2022 compared to France with 45 which is in second place. Germany and Spain tied third with 31 projects each.

The UK so far bucks the negative predictions of some who warned that Brexit would devastate the financial services industry.

8.     US top investor in Europe

The European parliament has published an article stating that the US is Europe’s top investor.

The largest recipient country is Luxembourg.