This article originally appeared on The Epoch Times on June 10, 2019.
China’s recent “threat” to restrict sales of rare earth minerals to the United States is actually a tremendous opportunity for America.
Although China currently dominates global production of rare earth minerals—which are vital for high-tech electronics, military hardware, and other crucial products—that won’t be true for long if Beijing imposes higher tariffs or stricter export quotas as leverage in its ongoing trade negotiations with the U.S.
At the moment, China produces roughly 80 percent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, yet it controls just 40 percent of known deposits. Despite the name, “rare” earth minerals are actually fairly abundant, but extracting them is an expensive process that carries environmental risks.
Over the past few decades, China has taken advantage of its low labor costs and minimal environmental regulations to drive down prices and force foreign competitors out of business, which allowed it to replace the United States as the world’s leading supplier in the 1980s.
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