SHANGHAI, Sep 20 (SMM) – Items regarding rare earth metals, oxides, compounds, and metal-based magnet were removed from the list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that will face fresh US tariffs from September 24, pointing to the US dependency on China’s rare earth, SMM believes.
This is compared with the list preliminary decided by the Trump administration on July 10, which covered 6031 items of products from China. The final list revealed on Monday September 17 cut 286 items in total, to 5745 items, SMM learned.
The US imports of the above four types of rare earth accounted for 1.4% of the overall 286 removed items this time. Such proportion far exceeds the ratio of US’ import of rare earth-related products from China to overall US import of Chinese goods, showed public data. After the adjustment, only a few non-metallic rare earth products will be subject to the additional 10% US tariffs, SMM learned.
High environmental cost in mining is the essential reason why the US depends on imported rare earth products. This is despite the fact that the country ranks second in terms of rare earth reserves globally, with its Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine once supplying most of the world's rare-earth elements. Bankruptcies of many rare earth mining companies in the US from the 1990s added to its supply shortage domestically.
China produced around 85% of the world's total rare earth products, and 90% of the world’s rare earth metal-based magnet, public data showed. In 2016, 90% of the US’ rare earth magnets imports came from China.