DesPardes + PKonweb

China May Restrict Rare Earth Exports to US Amid Trade War

Chinese shipments accounted for 80 percent of all U.S. imports of rare-earth minerals between 2014 and 2017

DESPARDES News Monitor — Amid the threat of more tariffs to come, China is “seriously considering” restricting rare earth exports to the United States, Chinese tabloid Global Times’ editor in chief Hu Xijin said on Tuesday.

Rising bilateral tensions have sparked concerns that Beijing could use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the countries’ trade war.

“Based on what I know, China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the U.S.. China may also take other countermeasures in the future,” Hu wrote on his twitter account.

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The Global Times, while not officially run by the federal government, is published and distributed by the Communist Party’s People’s Party, the dominant party in China.

Chinese shipments accounted for 80 percent of all U.S. imports of rare-earth minerals between 2014 and 2017, according to Reuters, suggesting that U.S. markets could be in for a major blow if the government carries out plans to restrict business to the U.S.

Tariffs are up from both sides and there’s the threat of more to come. Bloomberg economists @DanHanson41 and @TomOrlik have mapped out the main scenarios.

The economic costs of the trade war are piling up also, says The Economist and Bloomberg. Global GDP would take a $600 billion hit in 2021.

President Trump indicated this week that negotiators are no closer to a deal with China’s government over a variety of trade issues, while the Treasury Department is reportedly considering $300 billion in further tariffs targeting imports from China.

The Trump administration has accused Chinese negotiators of walking back provisions the two sides had previously agreed upon, an accusation that has stalled the bilateral talks.

“I think they probably wish they made the deal that they had on the table before they tried to renegotiate it,” Trump said Monday. “We’re not ready to make a deal. And we’re taking in tens of billions of dollars of tariffs, and that number could go up very, very substantially, very easily.”