Beijing is considering a ban on exports of rare earth metals to the US, editor-in-chief of Chinese state-linked outlet Global Times has tweeted, warning it may not be the last retaliatory move by China as the trade war escalates.
Reports that China may resort to the embargo have been circulating for weeks. If implemented, the move could be really harmful to Washington as there are almost no alternative sources for the elements that are used in a wide range of industries from high-tech to the military.
“Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future,” Hu Xijin tweeted on Tuesday.
Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 28, 2019
A routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths facility last week came amid rising tensions between the two countries and shortly after the US turned up the heat on Chinese tech giant Huawei. Despite the lack of any official announcement from Beijing, the visit has triggered fears that China is ready to use the materials, specifically a ban on their export, as an advantage against the US.
“If any country wants to use products made of China’s #rareearth exports to contain China’s development, the Chinese people would not be happy with that,” a Chinese official said when asked about whether rare earth will be used as a countering weapon in the China-US #tradewar. pic.twitter.com/AH1XpgUrew
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 28, 2019
According to independent political analyst Alessandro Bruno, rare earths are indeed one more way that China can retaliate against the US.
Rare earth metals “are essential minerals used in the military, aerospace and electronics industries,” Bruno told RT.
“China controls anywhere from 85-95% of all production and supply. To demonstrate their strategic importance, rare earths are among the few Chinese items that Trump (or his officials) has excluded from the list of items subject to extra tariffs/duties. China understands the strategic importance of rare earths and it establishes export quotas,” he added.Message Input