Hong Kong. China has announced additional export restrictions on some graphite products from December in the name of national security. Its move could impact EV manufacturers across the world as the country is the main source and producer of natural graphite.
Exporters in China will be required to apply for permits from December 1, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday. The US, South Korea and Japan are among the top importers of graphite.
Graphite is widely used to make batteries, fuel cells and lubricants for the machinery, petrochemical, defense and aerospace sectors.
“Demand has increased in recent years as it is a raw material used for electric vehicle batteries,” the report said.
China will produce an estimated 65 percent of the total world graphite supply in 2022.
“Imposing export controls on specific graphite commodities is a common international practice,” the country’s commerce ministry said in a statement. “As the world’s largest graphite producer and exporter, China has long been firmly fulfilling its international obligations such as non-proliferation.”
“Based on the need to protect national security and interests, China has implemented export controls on specific graphite commodities in accordance with law, and has imposed temporary controls on some graphite commodities,” the ministry said.
As technology sanctions by the US and its allies – especially in the semiconductor sector – increase, China has also tightened its grip on exports of critical minerals in a tit-for-tat move.
Earlier this week, the US imposed an export ban on China-specific Nvidia and Intel graphic processing units (GPUs).
Beijing in July announced export controls on gallium and germanium, two key materials used in semiconductor manufacturing, “which China has a quasi-monopoly on.”
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