The US and China
US senators have introduced an initiative in the upper house of Congress that would reduce US dependence on supplies of rare earth elements from China by restricting their use, as well as creating a strategic reserve. The text of the document was published on Friday.
The authors of the initiative are Senators Tom Cotton (Republican from Arkansas) and Mark Kelly (Democrat from Arizona). They note that these measures are aimed at "encouraging the mining and processing of rare earth metals in the United States", reduce the country's dependence on their exports from China, as well as reduce the threat of supply disruptions.
The bill directs US authorities to create a "strategic reserve of rare earth elements". According to the senators, the Pentagon and the US Department of the Interior (DIA) should make recommendations. The reserve should be designed to meet US needs for the specified elements in areas of national security importance for a year.
According to the bill, the Pentagon should require its contractors to stop using rare earth elements from China in any products destined for the defence establishment from 2026. When they are otherwise difficult to obtain, exceptions can be made to the rules. The US Department of Defense should also require suppliers to disclose where the specified elements used in various products are sourced from.
The senators also believe that the office of the US trade negotiator should investigate the Chinese authorities for any improper practices in the rare earth element market. In the event that such a finding is made, Washington should take action.