Why China is banning exports of rare earths

I ett högteknologiskt och höginsatsspel där du-inte-har-det-jag-har, går Kina snabbt mot ett förbud mot viss export av sällsynta jordartsmetaller. Policyändringen kan skapa en störning i icke-kinesiska ekonomier som inte kan köpa tillräckligt med sällsynta jordartsmetaller som behövs för högteknologiska produkter och högpresterande magneter.

In a high-tech, high-stakes game of you-don’t-have-what-I-have, China is rapidly moving towards a ban on some rare earth exports. The policy change could create a disruption in non-Chinese economies that cannot buy enough rare earths needed for high-tech products and high-performance magnets.

In a Nikkei report from Beijing, China’s move is likely to come soon in 2023, as the amendment to the country’s list of technology export restrictions has already passed several hurdles. This update of the list of prohibited export materials is likely to cause significant problems for both the US and Japan.

All this comes as a response to the US and others restricting their own exports of high-tech microchips, leaving China on the outside looking in. Asia News Network says Xi Jinping, China’s president, has focused on magnets as an economic growth point and a national security benefit.

These rare earths are key to the production of a variety of high-tech products and rare earth magnets found in electric motors (including electric vehicles), robots, aircraft (military and otherwise) and common goods such as mobile phones.

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