The Chinese government has announced it will require export licenses for certain graphite products to protect national security. This comes in response to efforts to challenge global production dominance in critical minerals.
China is the world’s leading producer and exporter of graphite, processing more than 90 percent of the world’s material used in virtually all electric car anodes.
Beijing’s decision to require export licenses comes when numerous foreign governments are increasing pressure on Chinese companies over their industrial practices.
The European Union is considering imposing tariffs on Chinese-made electric cars, believing they benefit from unfair subsidies. At the same time, the U.S. government has significantly restricted Chinese companies’ access to semiconductors and halted sales of advanced artificial intelligence chips from Nvidia and other manufacturers.
These measures are intensifying efforts by mining companies outside China to pursue graphite projects and leading to increased research into alternatives. Under the new restrictions, exporters must apply for a permit to ship two types of graphite starting Dec. 1: high-purity, high-strength synthetic graphite material and natural flake graphite and their derivatives.