Por Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters) – A Commerce Department spokesman said on Wednesday that the United States “strongly” opposes China’s announced export controls on gallium and germanium, metals needed for the production of semiconductors and other electronics. US, who said Washington would consult with its partners and allies on how to resolve the issue.
China this week imposed export controls on gallium and germanium products, which are used in electric vehicles (EVs) and fiber optic cables. The sudden announcement of controls from August 1 has left companies struggling to secure supplies and prices skyrocketing.
Germanium is used in high-speed computer chips, plastics and in military applications such as night vision devices and satellite imaging sensors. Gallium is used in radar and radio communications equipment, satellites, and LEDs.
“These actions underscore the need to diversify supply chains. The United States is working with its allies to address this issue and strengthen the resilience of critical supply chains,” a Commerce Department spokesperson said in a statement sent by email. And will work with partners.”
Economic analysts see the move by China’s Ministry of Commerce to protect national security as a response to Washington’s growing efforts to curb Chinese technological advances.
The announcement came on the eve of the US Independence Day holiday and just ahead of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s visit to Beijing.
The European Commission has also expressed concern. German Finance Minister Robert Habeck said any extension of controls on materials such as lithium would be “problematic”.
The case is the latest chapter in tensions between the United States and China, which have escalated in recent years over issues such as trade tariffs, the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber security, espionage allegations and technological competition.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh; Editing in Spanish by Javier López de Lerida)