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
Efficiency improvements in Track/Trace Enhances Customer Loyalty
Consumer satisfaction with the quality of your products is clearly important, but the service you provide before and after the sale is equally important to any business, but often overlooked as benefiting the bottom line.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...