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China boosts rare-earth quota 20% to shield supply chain from U.S.

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China will raise this year’s quota on the production of rare-earth metals by 20%, the government said Thursday, as it moves to secure a supply chain that is immune from U.S. sanctions.

The country will now produce 168,000 tons of rare earths, according to a notice from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Officials announced in February an 84,000-ton quota for the first half, and the scale will be repeated for the second half.

This marks the fourth straight year the quota has been increased, now reaching the highest level on record. Rare earths are indispensable material in the tech industry, from electric vehicle motors to smartphones, TVs and satellites. China is the source of 60% of the world’s rare earths, which can also be used in military drones and missiles. Japanese manufacturers of high-performance magnets and other products made with rare earths procured from China closely watch the production quota every year.

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