Industrial products and materials containing gallium and germanium will be restricted from August 1.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has announced the implementation of export controls on industrial products and materials containing gallium and germanium from August 1. In a press statement issued on Monday (Chinese), the ministry cites national security for the restrictions on these critical minerals. Semiconductors, solar panels, LEDs, and lasers are among the main fields of demand for gallium and germanium.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the People’s Republic accounts for most of the world’s gallium and germanium production. Exporters for the two metals will now have to request licenses from the Ministry of Commerce to start or continue exporting them out of China, according to the statement. The firms are also required to report details of the overseas buyers and their applications. If needed, these requests can escalate to higher authorities.
China announced to consider export bans on solar technologies earlier this year already, however, it did not implement it then. The now-unveiled export controls are the latest development in the global battle to control technologies and resources essential for industrial and military advancements. It can also be understood as a symptom of worsening U.S. – China relations. The U.S. implemented similar export controls on semiconductor technology earlier this year, which was met with Chinese opposition.