Cruz aims to end US reliance on China REE
Texas Sen. introduces bill to bolster domestic supply chain Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – May 13, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 6:01am
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) May 12 introduced the Onshoring Rare Earths Act of 2020, or ORE Act, legislation to end the United States' dependence on China for rare earth elements and other critical minerals used to manufacture our defense technologies and high-tech products.
"Our ability as a nation to manufacture defense technologies and support our military is dangerously dependent on our ability to access rare earth elements and critical minerals mined, refined, and manufactured almost exclusively in China," Cruz said. "Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security. The ORE Act will help ensure China never has that opportunity by establishing a rare earth elements and critical minerals supply chain in the U.S."
The ORE Act includes provisions aimed at steering America's dependence for these minerals away from China by establishing a domestic supply chain for them.
Specifically, the legislation provides tax incentives for the rare earths industry; requires the Pentagon to source rare earths and critical minerals from the U.S .; and establishes grants for pilot programs to develop these materials in the U.S.
This legislation would work alongside efforts by the Trump White House to establish a domestic critical minerals and metals supply chain.
Late in 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13817, which calls on federal agencies to devise a strategy to ensure the United States has reliable supplies of these commodities vital to America's economic and strategic security.
Under direction of this order, the U.S. Geological Survey established a list of 35 minerals and metals critical to the United States.
Within that list are the rare earth elements, which are primarily used in high-tech and military applications, as well as cobalt, graphite, manganese, lithium, and other minerals needed for electric vehicle and renewable energy.
Over the last few decades, the Chinese government and its companies have worked to drive competitors out of the market for these critical minerals and centralize the supply chain in China.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Cruz has been leading efforts to unwind the U.S. from China.
"The most important long-term national security and foreign policy consequence of this coronavirus pandemic is going to be a fundamental reassessment of the United States' relationship with China," said Cruz, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I believe China is the most significant geopolitical threat to the United States for the next century, and I have been saying that for years. Many in Washington have not been interested in hearing it or have refused to listen. I think this coronavirus pandemic has opened the eyes of many in Congress, many in Washington, and even some in the media."
The ORE Act is among several pieces of legislation Sen. Cruz is introducing to counter U.S. dependence on China, censorship of Chinese citizens, coercion of Hollywood, Chinese propaganda aimed at American schools, China's efforts to intrude into America's airwaves, and spying on Americans.