The Government of China has decided to increase controls for the export of gallium and germanium, two key metals in the manufacture of semiconductors and other basic components for the energy transition, as announced by the Ministry of Commerce and Administration from next August. General of Customs of the Asian giant.
The move comes after the United States and other major chip makers such as Japan and the Netherlands have announced restrictions on the export of technology. China and the US are also maintaining a technological trade war that has intensified since 2019. Among the measures applied, the United States has used commercial blacklists and extensive export restrictions to isolate China from key technological components and semiconductors or chips.
As of August 1, it will impose greater controls on the export of articles related to these metals, including fifteen derivatives.
At the moment China produces 60% of the world’s germanium and 80% of the gallium. Both are metals that do not occur naturally but are formed as a by-product from other refineries.
While germanium is used in products of fiber optics and night vision gogglesgallium is a fundamental material for semiconductors. Germanium is a silvery-white metal, derived from zinc, it is transparent to infrared radiation and can be used in military applications, such as night vision goggles.
For its part, gallium is a soft, silvery metal derived from the zinc refinery and bauxite rock. It is used to make the chemical compound gallium arsenide, which is used to make radio frequency chips for mobile phones and satellite communications, for example.
In any case, experts and analysts agree that the impact of the restrictions will be limited, since other sources of metals can be used as substitutes for these two.
With the new regulation, export operators will have to submit an application to the Ministry of Commerce through the provincial department of commerce, completing the corresponding application form for the export of dual-use items and technologies.
It will be the Ministry of Commerce who will review the documentation provided with the export application and will make the decision to approve it or not.