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Gallium and germanium export control just and righteous: Editorial flash

By Zhang Zhouxiang | | Updated: 2023-07-03 20:55
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About 40 percent of the world's germanium, a metal even rarer than gold, is in China. However, this fact does not even rank it as first in the world.

In fact, 70 percent of germanium's supply in the global market comes from China, while the US holds the largest germanium resources and has strict export control over it. A similar case applies to gallium of which China has the richest resources yet exports the absolute majority in the global market. Its export in 2022 had even grown by more than 40 percent than 2021. The mining of both involves heavy pollution to the environment.

All these facts make it just for the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs to issue export restrictions on industrial products and material containing gallium and germanium from August 1, 2023. China needs to regulate its own mineral industry so as to develop it in a healthier way, instead of polluting itself only for the world's biggest mine holder to save it as a "strategic resource".

Those doubting China's decision could ask the US government why it holds the world's largest germanium mines but seldom exploits them. Or they could ask the Netherlands why it included certain semiconductor-related products, such as lithographic machines, into its export control list. It is they that challenge the world supply chain, and the blames that belong to them should never be shifted to China as it's defending its own legal national interests in this rather uncertain world.

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