Two U.S. senators have proposed a law aiming to end China’s alleged “chokehold” on rare-earth metal supplies, a statement by the lawmakers said Friday.
The law — proposed by Democrat Mark Kelly and Republican Tom Cotton — would aim to ensure the United States can guarantee its supplies of rare-earth minerals.
“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets,” Mr. Cotton said in the statement.
80% of the United States’ rare-earth imports in 2019 were from China, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Bill aims to “protect America from the threat of rare-earth element supply disruptions, encourage domestic production of those elements, and reduce our reliance on China”, the statement said.
The law would require the departments of the Interior and Defense to create a “strategic reserve” of rare earth minerals by 2025.
That reserve would be tasked with responding to the needs of the army, the tech sector and other essential infrastructure “for one year in the event of a supply disruption”.
It also aims to ensure greater transparency on the origins of the components, restricts the use of rare-earth minerals from China in “sophisticated” defense equipment, and urges the Commerce Department to investigate Beijing’s “unfair trade practices”.