EU concerned over China export controls on metals used in chips

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission expressed concern on Tuesday over China’s planned curbs on exports of strategic metals widely used in the semiconductor industry and doubt that the move was related to security.

China said the control on exports of gallium and germanium products from Aug. 1 was aimed at protecting national security.

“The Commission is concerned that these export restrictions are unrelated to the need to protect global peace and also stability and the implementation of China’s non-proliferation obligations arising from international treaties,” a Commission spokesperson told a daily briefing.

The EU executive, which is assessing the potential impact on global supply chains and European industry, said it called on China to limit export restrictions to “clear security considerations” in line with World Trade Organization rules.

The Commission has identified both rare elements as “strategic” raw materials for its green and digital transition, with 2030 targets for increased EU mining, recycling and processing.

The metals are used in semiconductors, electric vehicles and high-tech industries.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Charlotte Van Campenhout Writing by Estelle Shirbon and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Potter)