China is considering prohibiting exports of certain rare-earth magnet technology in a move that would counter the U.S.’s advantage in the high-tech arena.
Officials are planning amendments to a technology export restriction list, which was last updated in 2020.
The revisions would either ban or restrict exports of technology to process and refine rare-earth elements. There are also proposed provisions that would prohibit or limit exports of alloy tech for making high-performance magnets derived from rare earths.
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[ Editor’s Note: Rare earth magnets are used widely within the US defense sector. Defense applications include jet fighter engines and other aircraft components, missile guidance systems, electronic countermeasures, underwater mine detection, antimissile defense, range finding, and space-based satellite power and communication systems. Precision-guided munitions, such as the satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition, rely on rare earth magnets to power the motors tasked with manipulating their flight control surfaces. Without rare earth magnets, these “smart bombs” would be forced to rely on expensive, bulky alternatives, such as hydraulic systems. ]