While the US have been running around telling the Chinese they cannot export their chips to Western countries, or important advanced tech, they appear to have forgotten where they get their supply of “rare earths” which are vital for the tech comes from.
To be fair, the US has other potential sources of rare earth material, but in the short term this is not available, so it is still dependant on Chinese supply.
At the moment, the word is that China is only “considering” banning the export citing “national security” as a reason. The irony of using national security as a reason will be wasted on the Americans, but would be known to the Chinese, who understand the concept very well. The Americans have been banning Chinese tech and companies citing “national security” as a reason.
China is believed to be seeking to seize control of the magnet supply chain and establish dominance in the burgeoning environment sector and this is a fine way to do it.
Beijing is currently in the process of revising its Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted from Export -- a list of manufacturing and other industrial technologies subject to export controls -- and released a draft of the revised catalog for public comment in December.
In the draft, manufacturing technologies for high-performance magnets using such rare earth elements as neodymium and samarium cobalt were added to the export ban. The solicitation of comments ceased late January and the revisions are expected to be adopted as early as this year.