The European Commission (EC) has proposed its Net-Zero Industry Act, which aims to improve the bloc’s competitiveness in clean technologies by ensuring it can provide 40% of its net-zero technology use by 2030.

The draft regulation, which was published on March 16, is a pillar of the Green Deal Industrial Plan — the EC’s response to the $396bn worth of industry support offered by the US government via its Inflation Reduction Act. 


The proposal includes a commitment to cap permitting processes for strategic projects at 18 months and establishing a European Hydrogen Bank to spur private investment and create a regional hydrogen market. It also allows member state governments to set up regulatory sandboxes to test green technologies and provide state aid to manufacturing projects if “private investment alone is not sufficient”. 

On the same day, the EC also proposed its Critical Raw Materials Act which aims to improve the bloc’s self-sufficiency in the minerals needed to manufacture electric vehicle batteries and other green technologies. The draft law aims to cut the EU’s reliance on China by satisfying 10% of its domestic extraction needs and 40% of its processing needs by 2030. It also seeks to cap consumption of strategic raw materials processed in any single non-EU country at 65%.

The EU parliament and council must agree to both proposed rules before they enter into force. 

Hutchinson Ports ploughs $700m into Egypt

Global logistics group Hutchinson Ports is investing $700m in Egypt to build new container terminals at the Port of Alexandria and Ain Sokhna Port. In a statement announcing the news on March 16, the Hong Kong-headquartered firm said the new projects support its “strategy to expand its network and enhance its capabilities in emerging markets.”

The new container terminals will bring Hutchinson Port’s total investment in Egypt to more than $1.5bn and expand its operations to 52 ports across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.


MercadoLibre plans $5.2bn spending spree 

Latin America’s e-commerce giant MercadoLibre plans to invest 19bn reais ($3.6bn) in Brazil and $1.6bn in Mexico this year. The Argentinian-headquartered group, which posted record revenues last year, announced its investment plans on March 16. 

In a statement, the firm said its Brazilian investments will focus on technology, logistics, advertising and its digital banking businesses. In Mexico, the fresh capital will be injected into its e-commerce market development, logistics and marketing, according to the country’s general manager, David Geisen. 

And finally: Unilever is investing $20m in Ukraine to build a new manufacturing facility in the Kyiv region, the consumer goods giant announced on March 16.