Will Rare Earth Elements Trump Trump?

Industrial companies around the world are cautiously awaiting word about Donald Trump’s favorite saying “We’ll See” as the world trade war ebbs forward on the world stage.  The reality of the situation is straightforward.  If China chooses to shut off supply of rare earth elements, the USA will be out of luck.  There are simply no alternate supply channels outside of China for rare earth elements.  It might be palpable for farmers, workers in automotive plants and other parts of the USA industrial landscape to bite the bullet and suffer.  However, if the USA cannot gain access to rare earth elements, America’s mission critical defense would begin to erode.  Does Washington care? The silence is deafening.

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China’s Rare Earth Embargo, a New Calculus (2010 New York Times)

The excerpt below is drawn from a 2010 New York Times story. For the full story, please select the link below. As one reads this story, it is not difficult to imagine how a trade war could become far more draconian with severe implications on the global rare earth elements supply-chain.

Mike Luther, Global REEs Venture

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A New China Rare Earth Embargo Would Damage Several U.S. Companies’ Technology Competitiveness

The U.S. and China are embroiled in a trade dispute, and the Chinese could readily impose a tariff on rare earth elements as it did in 2010. China supplies between 85% and 95% of global demand for the 17 rare earth powders and metals used in high-tech applications such as smartphones, catalysts, LED screens, polishing. U.S. companies whose products incorporate rare earth materials, would be at a competitive disadvantage if the Chinese were to impose a rare earth tariff.

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