Rare earths market must be kept open

Concern that the United States will fail to maintain an adequate supply of the minerals needed to manufacture our most advanced products is gaining traction in Washington

By ·

Concern that the United States will fail to maintain an adequate supply of the minerals needed to manufacture our most advanced products is gaining traction in Washington.

Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia & the Pacific, held a hearing to highlight the fact that China controls 97 percent of the rare earths market and has been limiting exports and skyrocketing costs of the minerals to the detriment of manufacturers in the U.S. and other countries.

As logistics management sources have been noting, rare earths are vital in a variety of advanced manufactured goods, such as cell phones, fluorescent lights, hybrid engines, airplanes, wind turbines, and defense guidance systems. 

China’s actions to temporarily ban exports of rare earths a year ago following a territorial dispute with Japan caused huge price spikes for certain rare earths, particularly cerium, neodymium, and dysprosium.  Currently, the prices for these elements are at astronomical levels. As a result, U.S. manufacturers can no longer expect a steady supply of these elements, and the pricing uncertainty threatens tens of thousands of American jobs. 

According to Manzullo, the U.S. Department of Energy is conducting cutting edge research into rare earth alternatives, but a more comprehensive effort is needed.

“Congress, the Administration, and our manufacturers need to come together to formulate a comprehensive strategy to end China’s monopoly on rare earths, from challenging China’s trade actions to encouraging more American production of rare earths. We must end our reliance on China for the building blocks of advanced U.S. manufacturing. American jobs and our national security depend on it.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Global · Global Logistics · Trade · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Digital Issue: The Current State of Third-Party Logistics Services
It has become quite clear that logistics professionals are now facing an unprecedented set of challenges. From tightening capacity, to ongoing regulation hurdles, to the complexity brought on by e-commerce, today’s shippers are transforming the way they manage their logistics operations.
Download Today!
From the June 2017 Issue
Here are five trends that every shipper­—and potential shipper—must watch as the demand for experienced logistics and supply chain professionals soars.
2017 Rail/Intermodal Roundtable: Volume stable, business steady
Cross-Border Logistics: NAFTA tune-up time
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Women in Logistics: Breaking Gender Roles to Win the War for Talent
In this session you'll hear from a panel of women who are now leading top-level logistics and supply chain operations. The panel will share their success stories as well as advice for women who are now making their way up the ladder.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2017 Top 50 3PLs: Investment and Consolidation Maintain Traction
The trend set over the past few years for mergers and acquisitions has hardly subsided, and a fresh...
The Evolution of the Digital Supply Chain
Everyone is talking about terms like digitization, Industry 4.0 and digital supply chain management,...

2017 Salary Survey: Fresh Voices Express Optimism
Our “33rd Annual Salary Survey” reflects more diversity entering the logistics management...
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...