United States Firmly Against China's Export Controls
The US has unequivocally voiced its opposition to the export controls recently established by China on gallium and germanium, key metals instrumental in manufacturing semiconductors and a variety of electronics. This information came from a spokesperson for the U.S. Commerce Department who also stated that Washington will seek counsel from its partners and allies to address this development.
Immediate Impact of China's Control on Tech Metals
China imposed export restrictions on products containing gallium and germanium, both crucial to the production of electric vehicles (EVs) and fiber optic cables, earlier this week. These sudden controls, set to take effect from August 1, have caused companies to hastily secure their supplies and have resulted in a price surge.
Varied Uses of Gallium and Germanium in the Tech Industry
Germanium finds its usage in high-speed computer chips, certain types of plastics, military applications such as night-vision devices, and satellite imagery sensors. Gallium, on the other hand, is employed in radar and radio communication devices, satellites, and LED lights.
US Response and Actions Following China's Move
Highlighting the need to diversify supply chains, the US is planning to collaborate with its allies and partners to address this issue and enhance resilience in crucial supply chains, as stated in an emailed response by the Commerce Department spokesperson.
China's Export Control - A Security Measure or a Retaliatory Move?
China's decision to implement these controls, justified by its commerce ministry as a measure to safeguard national security, is viewed by economic analysts as a countermeasure against Washington's intensified attempts to restrict China's technological progression.
International Reactions and Broader Implications
The announcement was made on the brink of the US Independence Day holiday and immediately before US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen visited Beijing. The European Commission and Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck have also expressed their apprehensions, with Habeck warning that extending controls to materials like lithium would be "problematic."
Escalating US-China Tensions Amid Tech and Trade Disputes
This matter represents the newest episode in the ongoing tension between the U.S. and China that has been escalating in recent years. The points of contention range from trade tariffs and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic to cyber security, spying allegations, and intense competition in the field of technology.