Gallium, germanium export controls legitimate to maintain national security: Ministry of State Security

2023-08-10 15:44:10Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's export controls on gallium and germanium, two critical elements for producing semiconductor chips, are necessary to maintain national security, China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) said on Thursday.

Since August 1, China has implemented export controls on gallium and germanium-related items. Such a legitimate initiative was maliciously interpreted by some individual foreign media outlets, the ministry said on its Wechat account. 

From more than a decade ago, when the national security organs solved important cases involving resource security in accordance with the law, to today, when the State imposes export controls on important minerals, China's determination to safeguard the security of critical resources has been consistent, and is entirely reasonable and legitimate, the ministry said.

Gallium- and germanium-related items have obvious dual-use attributes, and export controls are implemented in accordance with the law to ensure that they are used for legitimate purposes, in order to safeguard national security and fulfill international obligations, the ministry said.

Before issuing the control measures, the country also provided advance notification to relevant countries through normal channels in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner, without targeting any particular country, it noted.

The control measures are a reasonable move to ensure its own development. China has been the world's largest importer and consumer of strategic minerals for many years, and is now in the mid-to-late stage of industrialization and the rapid development of urbanization, which has led to a continuous rise in the demand for strategic minerals to promote high-quality economic and social development.

At the same time, the world has entered a new period of turbulence and change, with the profound adjustment of the global political and economic landscape, which makes it necessary to better integrate the development and security of the resources, to enhance the level of resource security, and to effectively guarantee the continuous, reliable and effective supply of resources required for development. The control measures are sensible and reasonable, and should not be criticized by anyone, the statement said.

The controls are also a legitimate move in line with internationally accepted practices. Most developed countries have implemented control measures on their strategic mineral resources. The US and the EU have included gallium and germanium in the list of key mineral catalogs under “special attention,” and the two minerals are included in the export control scope of the Wassenaar Arrangement control list of the US-EU-led multilateral export control mechanism, the ministry said.

The security exception clause has also been stipulated in many WTO agreements to support member countries to take relevant measures to safeguard national security. 

“Under such circumstances, the adoption of controls to appropriately control exports and minimize the loss of strategic resources is in line with common international practice and has a very clear basis,” the ministry said.

Whether from the historical perspective of human development or from the global perspective of the rise and fall of nations, resources and energy are not only a prerequisite for the survival of mankind, but also the foundation of national development and the guarantee of national security. 

Resources and energy are a matter of national economy, people's livelihood and national security. “Only by keeping the rice bowl of energy and resources firmly in our own hands can we achieve high-quality socio-economic development, and can the people live and work in peace and contentment with more confidence,” the MSS said.

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