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With the U.S. In Its Sights, China Moves to Restrict Rare Earths Exports. Could Cobalt Be Next?

Image via Fairphone (CC BY-SA 2.0)

China’s control of strategically important minerals and metals are poised to become new weapons in the increasingly acrimonious trade conflict with the United States. The Ministry of Industry last week submitted a new policy proposal that aims to tighten export controls on rare earths, a vital mineral used to manufacture electronics which China controls 60% of the global market.

The ministry’s proposed policy was unveiled soon after the Trump administration on Thursday sanctioned Chinese tech giant Xiaomi over allegations (unproven) that the company maintains ties with the People’s Liberation Army.

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