“The Politics of Critical Mineral Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific”-Kristin Vekasi speaks at the Rockland Public Library

September 22, 2022

The Camden Conference presents, in co-operation with the Rockland Public Library, Professor Kristin Vekasi on Thursday, October 6 at 6:30pm. Please contact Em Lewis, elewis@rocklandmaine.gov for information on registration for this in-person event.

Supply chains around the world seem increasingly vulnerable, and governments are seeking strategies to make them more resilient to both political and market challenges. Critical mineral supply chains are at the forefront of many of these efforts. Critical minerals like rare earths, lithium, and cobalt are essential for the gadgets that make our modern life possible and for the technologies central to the transition away from fossil fuels. This talk compares the approaches and policies for “economic security” and “economic resiliency” in China, Japan, and the United States and applies it to rare earths and other critical minerals. The talk compares critical mineral policies in the world’s three largest economies, and assesses the path forward towards more resilient supply chain governance.

Kristin Vekasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and School of Policy and International Affairs at the University of Maine. Her research focuses on trade and investment strategies in changing geopolitical environments, and the political risk management of supply chains. She specializes in Northeast Asia, and has spent years conducting research in China, Japan, and South Korea. Her book Risk Management Strategies of Japanese Companies in China (Routledge 2019) explores how Japanese multinational corporations mitigate political risk in China. Her current research examines how Japan, China, and the United States cooperate and compete to manage complex supply chains in Southeast Asia, focusing on industries essential for the transition to green energy.

Vekasi received her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Maine, she taught at New College of Florida, was a visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo and a Fulbright Fellow at Tohoku University. She is a member of the Mansfield Foundation’s US-Japan Network for the Future, and a 2019 National Asia Research Program Fellow with the National Bureau of Asian Research where she is also a nonresident fellow. In 2021-2022, she was an academic associate at the Harvard University US-Japan Program.

For information on the 36th Annual Camden Conference: Global Trade and Politics: Managing Turbulence, February 17-19, 2023 please visit our website camdenconference.org

The mission of the Camden Conference is to foster informed discourse on world issues.

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Header Photo: Aidan Kaczynski of AKZ Photography

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