In a significant move, China is strengthening its regulation over the rare-earth metals industry to include refining, product transport + exports.
Rare earths are essential for the powerful magnets found in electric-vehicle motors, drones and missiles. Nikkei Asia reports that China considers rare earths as a “strategic resource” + states that the US relies on China for 80% of its rare earth imports.
The new regulations give Beijing greater control over the supply of materials that are vital for high-tech manufacturing around the world.
The new Cold War is underway, just as President Biden takes office, + it is in this context that rare earth move by China assumes significance. China wants co-operation not confrontation but within Biden’s administration there are well placed hawks who prefer confrontation to co-operation. Rare earth is a significant throw of the dice by China + the message will not be lost on Washington.