Europe and the US should join forces on common rules on how to organize the market for critical minerals, a top German official said, as the European Union seeks to find ways to qualify for benefits under the new US green investment plan and reduce its reliance on metals and raw materials from China.

“This is one of the most promising ways to go forward,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Bloomberg TV in an interview Monday, referring to a possible agreement. 

The two sides are discussing a possible deal on minerals and critical raw materials that would treat EU like a free-trade partner, which would open some benefits in the Inflation Reduction Act to European firms. 

That might also lay the groundwork for a broader relationship in terms of trade and sourcing metals and components key to renewable energy projects and electric vehicles. 

Such a “partnership” might include rules on markets, quotas, subsidies and tax credits, Habeck said, and would help the US and EU avoid needless competition for minerals while lessening a dependence on China. 

Habeck’s comments come as he and his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, are set to meet US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other Treasury officials in Washington on Tuesday. Their meetings are part of the EU’s response to the IRA, which includes roughly $500 billion in new spending and tax breaks over a decade. 

Countries led by France have criticized the landmark legislation, warning it could unfairly rewrite the rules of globalization and lure jobs and investment away from Europe. The two European ministers are expected to demand more transparency from President Joe Biden’s administration on green industry subsidies, in order to avoid an escalation of transatlantic trade tensions.