Communist China is threatening to retaliate against the United States for limiting the federal dollars spent on Chinese products; the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, the People’s Daily, intimated that China would stop exporting “rare earth” minerals to the United States.
The People’s Daily wrote, “Don’t say we didn’t warn you!” That phrase has been historically used by the Chinese Communist party to threaten armed warfare.
According to the Daily Mail, the paper threatened:
Will rare earths become China’s counter weapon against the unreasonable crackdown from the U.S.? The answer is not profound. American companies have particularly high demand for rare earth products. At present, some people from the U.S. side are indeed fantasizing about obtaining resources independently, but it’s unarguable that the U.S. depends highly on the global supply chain. Without doubt, the U.S. wants to use the products made with the rare earths imported from China to suppress China’s development. Chinese people must not agree.
President Trump and President Xi Jinping are supposed to meet at the G-20 meeting next month.
“Rare earth’ minerals, although plentiful, can be found in concentrated and economic deposits in only a few countries; Yahoo Finance notes, “China is the biggest by far, accounting for almost 70% of global production and 40% of the world’s reserves, USGS data show.” Roughly 80% of “rare earths’ imported by the U.S. between 2014 and 2017 came from China.
The Daily Mail listed the 17 “rare earths” and their uses:
Scandium. Found in aerospace alloys and cars’ xenon headlamps
Yttrium. Used in energy-efficient lightbulbs, spark plugs and cancer treatments
Lanthanum. Found in camera lenses, battery electrodes, and catalysts used in oil refineries
Cerium. Used in self-cleaning ovens and industrial polishers
Praseodymium. Used in lasers and cigarette lighters
Neodymium. Used in electric motors for electric cars, hi-tech capacitors
Promethium. Found in luminous paint
Samarium. Used in the control rods of nuclear reactors, lasers and atomic clocks
Europium. Used in fluorescent lamps, MRI scanners
Gadolinium. Found in computer memory chips, steel, X-ray machines
Terbium. Used in sonar systems on navy vessels, fuel cells on hi-tech cars
Dysprosium. Used in hard disk drives and lasers
Holmium. Used in mass spectrometers by hospitals and forensic scientists
Erbium. Used in catalysts for the chemicals industry and in batteries designed to store power for the electrical grid
Thulium. Found in portable X-ray machines and lasers
Ytterbium. Used in stainless steel, thyroid cancer treatment and earthquake monitoring
Lutetium. Used in LED lightbulbs, oil refining and medical PET scans
President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019 last year; it limited the flow of federal dollars to the Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co., the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, and ZTECorp. On Tuesday, Huawei Technologies Co. filed a motion in Texas federal court challenging the National Defense Authorization Act.
Yahoo Finance noted, “Rare earths have already featured in the trade dispute. The Asian country raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on imports from America’s sole producer, while the U.S. excluded the elements from its own list of prospective tariffs on roughly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to be targeted in its next wave of measures.”
Fraser Howie, an independent analyst, told CNBC, “What it tells you is that you do not want China having a critical role in your supply chain. Don’t become too dependent on China.” He noted that the minerals are “actually found in many places,” adding, “China has the largest mining capacity, largely because for environmental issues the States has pulled back from mining rare earths.”