The chassis and batteries of an electric car are displayed at Auto Shanghai 2019. Regardless of the trade war, Beijing will ultimately move to reduce exports of rare earths to meet its own domestic demand, specifically from its electric-vehicle industry. Photo: AFP

Trade war: will China use ‘nuclear option’ of banning rare earth exports to US?

  • China accounted for seven out of every 10 tonnes of rare earth elements mined worldwide last year and was the biggest exporter to America
  • As trade tensions have escalated, analysts are questioning whether Beijing will use its dominance of the industry as a check on US tariffs
Topic |   Rare Earths

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The chassis and batteries of an electric car are displayed at Auto Shanghai 2019. Regardless of the trade war, Beijing will ultimately move to reduce exports of rare earths to meet its own domestic demand, specifically from its electric-vehicle industry. Photo: AFP
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Rare-earth oxides, clockwise from top centre: Praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. Photo: AP/US Department of Agriculture

Explainer: Used from iPhones to guided missiles, does China’s dominance in rare earths hold potential leverage in trade war?

  • The little known minerals are used in a variety of industries and hi-tech devices
  • China has accounted for more than 90 per cent of global production since the late 1990s
Topic |   Explainers: Business

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Rare-earth oxides, clockwise from top centre: Praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. Photo: AP/US Department of Agriculture
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