Wednesday, May 29, 2024

China Restricts Export on Minerals, May Cause Significant Economic Damage

'It is a shot across the bow intended to remind countries... that China has retaliatory options and to thereby deter them from imposing further restrictions...'

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The Chinese Communist Party announced plans to restrict exports on gallium and germanium.

Manufacturers use the minerals to help produce electric vehicles, solar panels, military equipment and more.

According to the Daily Wire, the restrictions on the two minerals—along with several other related materials—were a reaction to Western nations limiting China’s access to advanced semiconductors.

Some experts expressed the belief that China’s gamble could backfire on on them.

China had led the market for the minerals by suppressing the price. However, because they halted their price suppression, mining for these minerals in the West might be a cheaper option for other nations, said Christopher Ecclestone, a mining strategist at commodoties think-tank Hallgarten & Co.

“For a short while they get a higher price, but then China’s market dominance gets lost,” Ecclestone said. “The same thing has happened before in other things like antimony, tungsten and rare earths.”

U.S. customs started holding Chinese imported goods in March due to concerns of North Korean labor being used for Chinese sports brand Li Ning.

The initial move may have provoked China into a possible trade war as the U.S. and Europe continued to sanction levy sanctions against the Eastern Asian country.

Some market analysts said China intended the move as a “warning shot” to deter additional economic sanctions from the West and its allies.

“It is a shot across the bow intended to remind countries including the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands that China has retaliatory options and to thereby deter them from imposing further restrictions on Chinese access to high-end chips and tools,” said the Eurasia Group.

One executive said China put the measure in place temporarily to stave off a possible economic downturn, and would have a very “limited impact” on international economics in the short term.

The soft metal gallium has aerospace applications, consumer goods, industrial equipment and medical equipment. Germanium is used to produce solar panels and fiber optics.

Currently, neither minerals is produced in the United States. Both are imported from foreign nations including France, Kazakhstan and Russia.

However, it is unclear whether the Biden administration’s sanctions on many Russian exports might further impact the availability. Meanwhile, political instability in France could cripple its production if ongoing riots by Islamic extremists result in damage to critical infrastructure.

Despite having hobbled America’s energy independence immediately upon taking office, President Joe Biden has also put severe limits on its private mining capabilities, using recent land grabs in western regions to assume federal control of millions of acres of mineral-rich territory in Utah and Nevada.

As a result, many of the supplies needed for green-energy infrastructure have been outsourced to China, which has long maintained private business ties with the Biden family.

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