Rare Earth Elements
China controls 93 percent of the production of rare earth elements—metals less scarce than precious metals but still relatively rare. Many of these metals have turned out to be important to a wide range of green technologies, such as those used in wind turbines and in the electric motors for the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. They are also used in the electric motors in some U.S. missile guidance systems. China has been reducing production and exports of such metals to ensure it has an adequate supply for its own needs and to reduce environmental damage from the mines. 63 In 2011, a WTO panel held China’s export control impermissible. It noted that the proffered environmental concerns had not resulted in reduced mine production.64 The panel’s decision was affirmed on appeal in 2012.65
If these actions were being taken by the United States instead of China, do you think they would be defensible under the Export Administration Act? Why or why not?