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Export control

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: China has implemented export restrictions on gallium and germanium, two elements crucial for chip production, solar panels, and fibre optics.

 

What is Export control?

Export control refers to the regulations and restrictions imposed by governments on the export of certain goods, technologies, and services. It is designed to protect national security, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and ensure compliance with international agreements.

 

Why this move?

This move is seen as a retaliation to the export restrictions imposed by the US and Western allies on cutting-edge technologies.

 

Impact:

  • Negative: Countries may face chip shortage: China’s control over the supply chain and the licensing system of these minerals could give them more leverage in trade negotiations, and create constraints for other countries.
    • This development further escalates the ongoing technology war between nations (particularly between US and China)
  • Positive: With China’s restrictions, other countries can ramp up their production to substitute for China’s supply. However, It remains to be seen how other countries will respond and diversify their supply chains for these critical materials.

 

About Gallium 

Gallium is a soft, silvery metal that is often found in small amounts in various minerals. Gallium has a low melting point, making it useful for applications such as thermometers and as a component in alloys. It is also used in the manufacture of semiconductors, LEDs, and various electronic devices.

 

About Germanium:

Germanium is a lustrous, hard, greyish-white metalloid that is commonly found in trace amounts in certain minerals. Germanium has semiconductor properties, making it useful in electronic devices such as transistors and diodes. It is also used in infrared optics, fibre optics, and solar cells. Germanium has a high refractive index and excellent thermal conductivity, which makes it valuable in optical and thermal applications.