Will Rare Earths Be the Next Front in the U.S.-China Tech War?

May 20, 2019 | 20:09 GMT
Google Inc.'s decision to restrict business with Huawei could further heat the U.S.-China tech and trade war

Google has decided to back away from doing business with Huawei in response to White House restrictions that could invite Chinese retaliation.

(Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The rise of the Chinese tech sector has helped power its rivalry with the United States. The effects of the recent White House moves to counter China's tech champions, including its most profitable foreign venture, Huawei Technologies, has already had some effects, including a move by Google parent Alphabet Inc. to halt some business with the telecommunications giant. One possible response for China would be to restrict or ban exports of the rare earth elements critical to high-tech applications. China's preeminence in the rare earths supply chain would make that a potent option; China has about a third of the world's reserves of the elements but controls a much larger portion of mining and refining operations. Rare earths are crucial for components of a variety of technologies....

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