Trump’s Executive Order on critical minerals; The U.S. reacts on a national security threat

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that a strong America cannot be dependent on imports from foreign adversaries for the critical minerals that are increasingly necessary to maintain our economic and military strength in the 21st century. Because of the national importance of reliable access to critical minerals, I signed Executive Order 13817 of December 20, 2017 (A Federal Strategy To Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals), which required the Secretary of the Interior to identify critical minerals and made it the policy of the Federal Government “to reduce the Nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals.”

Pursuant to my order, the Secretary of the Interior conducted a review with the assistance of other executive departments and agencies (agencies) that identified 35 minerals that (1) are “essential to the economic and national security of the United States,” (2) have supply chains that are “vulnerable to disruption,” and (3) serve “an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for our economy or our national security.”

These critical minerals are necessary inputs for the products our military, national infrastructure, and economy depend on the most. Our country needs critical minerals to make airplanes, computers, cell phones, electricity generation and transmission systems, and advanced electronics. Though these minerals are indispensable to our country, we presently lack the capacity to produce them in processed form in the quantities we need. American producers depend on foreign countries to supply and process them.

For 31 of the 35 critical minerals, the United States imports more than half of its annual consumption. The United States has no domestic production for 14 of the critical minerals and is completely dependent on imports to supply its demand. Whereas the United States recognizes the continued importance of cooperation on supply chain issues with international partners and allies, in many cases, the aggressive economic practices of certain non-market foreign producers of critical minerals have destroyed vital mining and manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Our dependence on one country, the People’s Republic of China (China), for multiple critical minerals is particularly concerning. The United States now imports 80 percent of its rare earth elements directly from China, with portions of the remainder indirectly sourced from China through other countries. In the 1980s, the United States produced more of these elements than any other country in the world, but China used aggressive economic practices to strategically flood the global market for rare earth elements and displace its competitors.

Since gaining this advantage, China has exploited its position in the rare earth elements market by coercing industries that rely on these elements to locate their facilities, intellectual property, and technology in China. For instance, multiple companies were forced to add factory capacity in China after it suspended exports of processed rare earth elements to Japan in 2010, threatening that country’s industrial and defense sectors and disrupting rare earth elements prices worldwide.

The United States also disproportionately depends on foreign sources for barite. The United States imports over 75 percent of the barite it consumes, and over 50 percent of its barite imports come from China. Barite is of critical importance to the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) industry, which is vital to the energy independence of the United States. The United States depends on foreign sources for 100 percent of its gallium, with China producing around 95 percent of the global supply.

Gallium-based semiconductors are indispensable for cellphones, blue and violet light-emitting diodes (LEDs), diode lasers, and fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications. Like for gallium, the United States is 100 percent reliant on imports for graphite, which is used to make advanced batteries for cellphones, laptops, and hybrid and electric cars. China produces over 60 percent of the world’s graphite and almost all of the world’s production of high-purity graphite needed for rechargeable batteries.

For these and other critical minerals identified by the Secretary of the Interior, we must reduce our vulnerability to adverse foreign government action, natural disaster, or other supply disruptions. Our national security, foreign policy, and economy require a consistent supply of each of these minerals.

I therefore determine that our Nation’s undue reliance on critical minerals, in processed or unprocessed form, from foreign adversaries constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat, which has its source in substantial part outside the United States, to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

In addition, I find that the United States must broadly enhance its mining and processing capacity, including for minerals not identified as critical minerals and not included within the national emergency declared in this order. By expanding and strengthening domestic mining and processing capacity today, we guard against the possibility of supply chain disruptions and future attempts by our adversaries or strategic competitors to harm our economy and military readiness.

Moreover, additional domestic capacity will reduce United States and global dependence on minerals produced in countries that do not endorse and pursue appropriate minerals supply chain standards, leading to human rights violations, forced and child labor, violent conflict, and health and environmental damage.

Finally, a stronger domestic mining and processing industry fosters a healthier and faster-growing economy for the United States. Mining and mineral processing provide jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans whose daily work allows our country and the world to “Buy American” for critical technology.

I hereby determine and order: READ MORE HERE