As soon as the PRC is subjected to external economic sanctions, at the highest level within the country, discussion begins on a ban on the export of rare earth minerals in those areas in which there is a counter threat to the economy of the Celestial Empire. A new attempt to grope for a proprietary sanctions tool has to do with rare earth processing technologies.
China has concentrated about 17% of its reserves of rare earth minerals, which are widely used in electronic devices and electrical engineering. Although Western countries have their own reserves of rare earth minerals, it is the Chinese minerals that have a high enough concentration for economically viable extraction and processing. The countries that are political opponents of China do not want to develop their own production for reasons of environmental protection. As a result, the United States is approximately 80% dependent on imports of rare earth minerals from China, although even under the last president, attempts were made to increase the volume of extraction and processing within the country.
According to Bloomberg, the new initiative of the Chinese authorities implies the development of laws to prohibit the export of technologies for processing rare earth minerals to countries with which cooperation may pose a threat to national security. The bill will not be directed directly against the United States, but will allow the application of sanctions against individual companies – the same Lockheed Martin, which is engaged in the supply of weapons to Taiwan. Other players in the US defense sector may also be targeted by Chinese sanctions. China may limit the export of not only rare earth minerals, but also technologies for their processing.
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