China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options


Rare earth oxides. Clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. (credit: Peggy Greb, US Department of Agriculture)

On Wednesday, Chinese newspapers ran commentaries warning the United States that escalating trade tensions would result in China cutting off its rare-earth-minerals trade with the US.

China is the dominant supplier of rare-earth minerals around the world. The minerals are used in all sorts of advanced materials and play a prominent role in the operation of electric motors, wind turbines, and military-related material.

According to Reuters, China’s official People’s Daily ran an article saying: “Undoubtedly, the US side wants to use the products made by China’s exported rare-earths to counter and suppress China’s development. The Chinese people will never accept this!”

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