The Quad nations, at their first in-person summit in Washington on Friday, agreed to a partnership to secure critical infrastructure, the White House said.
Morrison told reporters after the meeting that this would include connecting Australian raw minerals to manufacturing and processing capabilities, and to end users in the United States, India and Japan, according to a transcript released by his government on Saturday.
Australia is the world’s largest supplier of rare earths outside of China and a major supplier of minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, such as nickel, copper and cobalt.
Although the leaders have not publicly referred to China, they have repeatedly insisted on rules-based behavior in a region where China has tried to flex its muscles. Beijing criticized the group as “doomed to failure.”
Other Quad executives expressed appreciation for Australia’s role in providing critical materials “because it is a necessary supply for the many industries and processing plants that they themselves operate,” said Morrison.
“On critical minerals Australia is one of the biggest producers, but we believe we can play a bigger role in a critical supply chain that supports the technologies of the future.”
Australia will host a clean energy supply chain summit next year, with the aim of developing a roadmap for building such supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region, Morrison said.
The Quad also discussed ways to better secure a semiconductor supply, Morrison said, as global automakers and other manufacturers cut production due to the shortage made worse by a resurgence of COVID-19 in the main Asian semiconductor production centers.
“It’s an ecosystem that we want to create and we want to do it … in the region,” he said.