China dropped its most obvious tip yet, that it would restrict the export of rare earths to the United States as a trade war strategy, a feature that could destroy US technology, defense and manufacturing industries.
Rare earth materials – consisting of 17 elements on the periodic table – are one of the most important Chinese exports to the United States, as they are found in batteries for smartphones, electric cars and fighters. The minerals are used in small quantities, but can be crucial for the manufacturing process.
China is the world's largest supplier of rare earth materials – accounting for 90% of global production ̵
There was speculation that Beijing would argue rare earths in its ongoing trade war with Washington since last week when Chinese President Xi Jinping and his chief economic adviser, Vice President Liu He, made a very public visit to a rare earth factory in eastern China.
Beijing officials further burned the flames this week by mentioning rare earths in a number of state media articles and comments on social media.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which oversees the country's economic policy, said in a question of publication published in the state people's daily on Wednesday: "Do you suggest that rare earths become part of China's countermeasures against the United States' unwarranted pressure? "
" What I can tell you is that if anyone wants to use our rare earths to produce products and use them to slow down China's development, then the people of the revolutionary Soviet base will and the Chinese people are not happy "continued.
"There are no winners in the commercial war," added the NDRC.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalist, state-owned Global Times tabloid, also tweeted on Tuesday evening: "Because of what I know, China is seriously considering limiting Rare Earth exports to the US China may also take other countermeasures in the future. "
Last week, the Global Times suggested that Xi visit to the rare earth factory" has been regarded as a form of leverage to China in commercial war with USA. "
The United States and China have charged thousands of values of taxes on each other's goods since March 2018.
Washington raised tariffs to 25% from 10% $ 200 billion Chinese goods on May 10, and Beijing said three days later that it would raise thresholds of $ 60 billion from June 1. Hours thereafter, the United States drew up a list of potential charges of another $ 300 billion worth of goods.
The United States did not include Chinese imports of rare earth materials in each list of customs targets illustrating its dependence on China for them.