Washington won't be able to remove China from the critical minerals supply chain, US Under Secretary for Economic Growth and Environment Jose Fernandez said.
According to Fernandez, China’s important role in the processing of raw minerals means that Beijing will remain a key US partner, not least because those minerals are crucial components for the batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs). The broader use of EVs is part of the Biden
administration’s strategy to tackle climate change.
He recalled that China remains the world’s second-largest economy, calling the PRC "a major trading partner of the US." Fernandez pledged that the US would continue working with China
"while pursuing our interests and protecting our companies and criticizing them when we feel they should be criticized."
Earlier this year, Beijing banned
the export of rare earth metals such as gallium and germanium, which are used in the manufacturing of advanced microchips and solar batteries. The move came in response to Washington’s efforts to cut Beijing out of the high-tech economic race.
In a separate development, the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed concern during US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s four-day visit to the country this summer over Washington’s trade restrictions, export controls and the pressure exerted on China that affected the country's market and "undermined the basis of public opinion in bilateral relations."
The 2023 US National Intelligence Strategy, meanwhile, sees China as "the only US competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so."