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China says critical metals curbs 'not targeting' any country
China says critical metals curbs 'not targeting' any country
by AFP Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 6, 2023

China's commerce ministry on Thursday said recent curbs on essential chip-making metals were not aimed at any specific country and that they did not represent a "ban on exports".

This week, Chinese authorities said exports of gallium and germanium -- crucial for the manufacturing of semiconductors -- will require a license and declaration of their final recipient from August 1, citing national security concerns.

The export curbs follow Washington's blacklisting of Chinese companies in recent years, aimed at cutting them off from access to US technologies, including the most advanced chips.

They also came just a few days before a trip to Beijing by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, during which ongoing US-China trade tensions are expected to be at the top of the agenda.

"The Chinese government is not targeting any particular country in implementing these export controls," commerce ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting said at a press briefing on Thursday.

She added that China had notified the European Union and the United States prior to announcing the controls.

"The export control is not a ban on exports, and permits will be granted if the exports comply with the relevant regulations," Shu said.

Gallium -- found in integrated circuits, LEDs and solar panels, among other things -- is considered a critical raw material by the EU.

China accounted for 80 percent of global gallium production, according to a 2020 report by the European Commission.

Germanium is essential for making optical fibres and infrared camera lenses, with 80 percent of it also coming from China, according to the same report.

Beijing and Washington have tussled in recent years over the global market for chips.

The United States has tightened export restrictions on semiconductors in recent months and is pushing its allies to do the same.

From September, the Netherlands will impose restrictions on the export of technologies intended for the manufacture of electronic chips.

Shu on Thursday accused Washington of "abusing export control measures to continuously strengthen its crackdown on China's semiconductors and artificially segregate the global semiconductor market".

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