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Trudeau suggests China uses slave labor in lithium production

STORY: "If we're honest ... the lithium produced in Canada is going to be more expensive. Because we don't use slave labor," Trudeau said in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

A representative for the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa did not respond to a request for comment.

Canada last fall announced a tougher policy on critical mineral investment - particularly from dominant producer China - as it worked to shore up its domestic supply of critical minerals after the global pandemic exposed supply chain problems that caused major production disruptions.

Canada has significant sources of lithium, Trudeau said, but China has made strategic choices over the decades that have made it by far the world's largest producer of the lithium used in cell phones and electric vehicles.