Export control on rare metals 'legitimate'

By YANG ZEKUN (China Daily) 11:19, August 11, 2023

Ministry says use of gallium, germanium should be regulated to ensure security

The export controls on gallium and germanium-related products that were implemented in August are legitimate and necessary steps to protect China's national security, an article posted by the Ministry of State Security said on Thursday, in response to the publication of maliciously twisted interpretations of the move on the foreign media.

Gallium and germanium have military and civilian dual-use attributes, it said. The lawful implementation of export controls is aimed at ensuring their legitimate use, maintaining national security and fulfilling China's international obligations more effectively.

China's Export Control Law stipulates that the country can impose export curbs on dual-use items and other goods related to safeguarding national security and interests. Besides, China's Foreign Trade Law provides that, to safeguard national security, the country may restrict or prohibit the export of goods relevant to national security.

China also pre-notified the relevant countries through normal channels before issuing control measures, ensuring fairness, reasonableness and nondiscrimination, and without targeting any specific country, it said.

Imposing export controls is also a reasonable action to ensure self-development. China is the world's largest importer and consumer of strategic mineral resources, and its demand for strategic mineral resources will continue to rise as the country is in the middle and later stages of industrialization with rapid urbanization, the article explained.

Additionally, global political and economic patterns are undergoing profound adjustments. So it is imperative to better coordinate between resource development and security, as well as current and long-term considerations, to ensure a sustained, reliable, and effective supply of resources needed for economic and social development. Such control measures are therefore appropriate and reasonable, and no one should criticize such measures, it said.

Most developed countries have implemented control measures on strategic mineral resources. The United States and the European Union have included gallium and germanium in their lists of critical minerals and subjected them to special attention. Furthermore, the Wassenaar Arrangement, a multilateral export control mechanism led by the US and the EU, has included gallium and germanium in its controlled list. Several agreements of the World Trade Organization also include clauses supporting its member countries in taking relevant measures to safeguard national security, the article argued.

For many years, the proportion of gallium and germanium produced by China for the global market has significantly exceeded China's share of global reserves. In such circumstances, implementing control measures to appropriately manage exports and reduce the loss of strategic resources is in line with international norms and is based on a clear rationale, it said.

Resources and energy are vital to the national economy, people's livelihood and national security. Only by firmly holding energy and resources in its hands can a country achieve high-quality social and economic development, and ensure the confidence of the people to live and work in peace and contentment, it added.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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