This month the Biden administration announced comprehensive export controls against China, most notably preventing American companies from selling advanced chips to the country.

According to VOA, the move will affect China’s chip manufacturing and other high-tech industries.

Many fear that, in retaliation, China will limit or stop exporting rare earth to the U.S.

Rare earth is widely used in many fields, including aviation, defense, aerospace, and biopharmaceuticals. It is so essential that it’s called the “Industrial Vitamin.”

However, experts said that Beijing’s use of rare earth to retaliate against the U.S. is unlikely.

Jane Nakano, a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said that Beijing is unlikely to retaliate against the U.S. with a ban on rare earth exports because it could threaten bilateral energy trade. At the same time, China still wants to continue its economic development.

Felix Chang, a senior fellow at the Center for Foreign Policy Studies, also shares Nakano’s views. Chang believes that Beijing’s retaliation against the U.S. like that will weaken the position of the Chinese rare earth industry.

Chang added that in the face of Washington’s chip export restrictions, China would promote its semiconductor industry on its own while the U.S. accelerates rare earth production to self-supply.

Chang noted that building rare earth smelters is much easier than developing semiconductor technologies.

The White House announced plans in February to develop a supply chain for rare earth and other vital minerals that is not dependent on China.
President Biden said, “China controls most of the global market in these minerals. And the fact that we can’t build a future that’s made in America if we ourselves are dependent on China for the materials that power the products of today and tomorrow. And this is not anti-China or anti anything else; it’s pro-American.”

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