Germanium and Gallium Restrictions: Implications for Global Trade
Germanium and gallium, two important metals with various applications in industries such as solar energy, fiber optics, and military technology, are facing new export restrictions imposed by China’s commerce ministry. These restrictions, effective from August 1, require exporters to obtain a license for shipping certain gallium and germanium compounds.
The Role of Germanium and Gallium
Germanium is widely used in solar products, fiber optics, and military applications like night-vision goggles. On the other hand, gallium is primarily used in the manufacturing of gallium arsenide, a chemical compound essential for producing radio frequency chips used in mobile phones, satellite communication, and semiconductors.
China’s National Security Concerns
China’s decision to impose these restrictions is driven by national security concerns. The new regulations require exporters to provide detailed information about importers and end users of these metals, as well as specify the intended purpose for which they will be used.
The United States had previously implemented stringent rules in October, aiming to restrict exports of key chips and semiconductor tools to China. These measures are expected to significantly impact China’s efforts to enhance its domestic technology industries. Moreover, the US has also been urging other chipmaking nations and allies, including the Netherlands and Japan, to adopt their own export restrictions.