© Reuters. A general view shows the brine pools of Albemarle Chile lithium plant placed on the Atacama salt flat, Chile, May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favor of a tax treaty with Chile seen as crucial for ensuring access for U.S. companies to lithium, a mineral essential for electric vehicle batteries.
As voting continued, the tally was 75-2 in favor of ratification, exceeding the two-thirds supermajority required to approve treaties in the 100-member chamber.
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Final approval will send the treaty to the White House, where President Joe Biden planned to sign the papers necessary for ratification.
Chile’s Congress approved the treaty in 2015.
Business interests have been pushing for the tax agreement for years. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called it an urgent priority. Without it, taxes on U.S. companies with Chilean operations could climb to more than 44%, the business group said.
U.S. companies have a strong presence in mining, finance and other industries in Chile.