China Moves to Shut Spigot on Rare Earths for First Time in 5 Years

in #usa2 years ago

 

  • China Moves to Shut Spigot on Rare Earths for First Time in 5 Years
    by SHUNSUKE TABETA and MARRIAN ZHOU, Nikkei staff writers, https://asia.nikkei.com/
    US vows ‘unprecedented action’ to boost domestic output
     BEIJING/NEW YORK — The Chinese government signaled Tuesday that it will take steps toward restricting rare-earth metal exports in its deepening trade war with the U.S., a step that could disrupt key supplies for high-tech industries even at the risk of isolation from the international community.
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     Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce promised “unprecedented action” to reduce dependence on foreign sources of “critical minerals” and recommended urgent steps, including boosting domestic production.
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     The moves by both sides reflect the vital importance of rare earths to the tech sector today and in the future. China knows it wields a strategic advantage as the dominant supplier, while the U.S. understands that its technological advantage hinges on continued access to the minerals.
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     At a meeting of China’s National Development and Reform Commission on Tuesday, rare-earth experts recommended greater controls on exports of the metals, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The recommendation calls for a centralized system to manage their mining and processing, and the commission said it will soon launch a policy reflecting the proposal.
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     China produces 70% of the world’s rare earths, which are a critical component in a range of products including electric cars, smartphones and even military equipment. The U.S. relies on the country for 80% of its imports of the metals and compounds.
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     In May, President Xi Jinping visited a magnet maker in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province — the heart of China’s rare-earth production — where he called the metals an “important strategic resource.”
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 https://medium.com/socioecohistory/china-moves-to-shut-spigot-on-rare-earths-for-first-time-in-5-years-15294035a86