They are also used in significant defense applications to include lasers, electronic displays, guidance systems, and radar and sonar systems, it said.
“From Apple’s iPhone-series to Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet, many U.S.-based companies rely on Chinese REEs to manufacture components in high-demand consumer and defense articles,” it said.
China has been the leading producer of REEs since the late 1990s and has accounted for more than 90 percent of global production. In the early 2000s, it began restricting exports, driving REE imports from China from $6,969 to $170,760 per metric ton, a 2,359 percent jump, it said.
“China’s domination of the global REE supply could enable it to disrupt American supply chains, presenting a significant security threat to the U.S,” the paper said.
The paper also said reliance on Chinese drones, which dominate the market, also risks U.S. national security as information collected by them could be turned over to the Chinese Communist Party by law.
Asked whether relying less on cheap Chinese products would cost Americans more, Blackburn responded that the U.S.’s current economic relationship with China has cost Americans “dearly.”
“One of the most expensive endeavors we have ever had to encounter as a country is the impact of COVID-19. It has cost our nation about $6 trillion dollars, and the number is still climbing. So that has been a very expensive process,” she said.
“People look at what has transpired with China with manufacturing and they say, ‘Hey, China took our jobs and they sent us a virus. And that has cost us dearly.’ And so many people are saying, ‘Let’s get this right and let’s look at how we break away from some dependance on China,” she added.
The paper also reviewed the history of Communism and the history of the Chinese Communist Party. It argued that current Chinese President Xi Jinping is following in the footsteps of Mao Zedong, the Communist Chinese Party dictator that founded the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and pursued policies that led to the deaths of millions of Chinese.
The paper issued a number of recommendations for the U.S.-China relationship in the future and urged U.S. lawmakers not to become complacent.
It said the U.S. “wields considerable influence” over the world’s posture towards China, but that lawmakers and other officials should not assume that influence will translate into victory.
“The economic and social fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly contribute to policy vacuums as various nations decide how their relationships with the PRC will change. However, the temptation of cheap equipment, labor, and other contributions to global supply chains will not simply disappear,” it said.
“American lawmakers must be able to effectively explain the PRC’s motivations, and describe how compliance with their demands — whether economically, militarily, or socially — will necessarily cause a regression in the prominence of democratic norms,” it said.
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