New graphite export controls come into force

2023-12-01 10:09:59China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Move in line with commitment to maintain stability of supply chains

China will implement optimized export controls on graphite products from Friday, and the measures do not target any specific country or region, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The Chinese government has conducted a comprehensive evaluation of earlier temporary export control measures in accordance with relevant regulations, and has adjusted the measures. Temporary controls on the export of graphite materials with low sensitivity have been lifted.

Export controls on specific graphite products have been an international practice. So far, the ministry has not received any application from companies, Shu Jueting, spokeswoman for the ministry, said at a news conference.

In the process of policymaking, the ministry has collected opinions from a wide range of enterprises and industries, and China will always remain committed to maintaining the security and stability of the global industrial and supply chains, she said.

Since 2006, China has implemented temporary export controls on graphite products, including those used as negative electrode materials for batteries.

Graphite is a mineral composed of stacked sheets of carbon atoms with a hexagonal crystal structure. It has varied industrial applications, including in electronics, dry batteries, lubrication, metallurgy and steelmaking.

Last year, the production volume of graphite globally reached 1.61 million metric tons, up 7.6 percent on a yearly basis. China remains the world's largest graphite producer, accounting for over 70 percent of global production in 2022. Other major producers include Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar, according to the United States Geological Survey.

"The highly sensitive graphite items, which were already subjected to temporary measures, have now become officially regulated," said Ding Rijia, a professor of industrial supply chain operations at the China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing.

"Besides, the temporary control measures on five types of low-sensitivity graphite items, which are mainly used in downstream sectors such as steel, metallurgy and the chemical industries, have been removed."

By optimizing export controls on graphite products, China aims to better fulfill its international obligations such as nonproliferation, to ensure the global industry and supply chains are safe and stable, and to protect its national security and interests more effectively, Ding said.

Meanwhile, China has approved the export of gallium- and germanium-related items of some enterprises that comply with regulations, the ministry said.

Since the implementation of the export controls on the two items on Aug 1, the ministry has received license applications from different enterprises. After reviewing them in accordance with laws and regulations, some license applications that meet the regulations have been approved, and the enterprises concerned have since received the export licenses.

The ministry will continue to review other license applications in accordance with the law and make a decision on whether or not to grant the licenses, it said.

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