In another remarkable example of shutting the barn door after the horse died of old age, Democratic Senators “Chuck” Schumer and Debbie Stabenow have demanded that President Obama take steps to fight China’s “hoarding” of rare earth elements.
China now owns most of the world’s supply of critical rare metals simply because the U.S. stopped producing them and because China purchased on the open market the resources it didn’t already own.
Since the U.S. government is, in large part running on money it borrowed from China, this seems a bit of an empty threat.
As does the threat to fight the Chinese export restrictions at The World Trade Organization (WTO).
Back in 2001 China was finally permitted to join the WTO but membership is probably not much of a concern these days because China is probably the most powerful trading force in the world. If not, it soon will be and if China dropped the WTO nations would be fighting to join whatever new trade organization China decided to form.
China has recently cut exports of rare earth metals by as much as 40%. The country now has industries which use so much of the metal in their own factories that it is thought they will become net importers within a few years.
So, two U.S. Senators want the Obama Administration to make China export more rare earth elements?
Where were they when China was blocked from buying American technology for so many years? That may have been a smart move from the U.S. standpoint but China may have seen things differently.
Why blame China for simply being better at business than the U.S.?
Political grandstanding is great for getting cheers from supporters but doesn’t seldomcontributes anything useful to the real world.
Threatening the country which holds your mortgage and which could easily just stop ALL rare earth exports probably isn’t such a good idea.
China could very easily use all their own rare earths making things the rest of the world is desperate to buy such as electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels, cell phones, smart bombs, batteries, Tamiflu (anti-flu medication) etc.
If you want to stop buying everything from China you should first check with WalMart’s 2 million employees.
Perhaps President Obama lives more in the real world than many Senators think, after all, he hasn’t been on the public payroll for twenty or thirty years and can only continue for a few more years at most.
As the memorable quote from Men in Black (I) went, “You’re everything we’ve come to expect from years of government training.”
Please stop the China bashing before we make them angry. You won’t like China angry. Try reasoning with China instead. Or give Monty Hall (producer of “Let’s Make a Deal”) a call.
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