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March 31, 2022

King, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Curb US Dependence on China’s Minerals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is joining Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Mark Warner (D-VA) to introduce legislation that will improve America’s access to critical minerals by working closer with our allies, and counter China’s current market dominance of this vital resource. The Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act would leverage existing trade partnership with Australia, India, and Japan – an international alliance referred to as “The Quad” – to create more reliable supply chains for minerals used in essential technologies, reduce our nation’s reliance on China, and protect the long term national security interests of the U.S. and our allies.

“So many of the technologies that will define the future depend on critical minerals that are overwhelmingly controlled by China – which severely threatens America’s economic leadership and national security in the decades ahead,” said Senator King. “As supply chain snarls continue to prevent Americans from accessing vital goods, it is critical that we work with allies like Australia, India, and Japan to build better systems and increase collaborative efforts to compete on the global market. Investing in rare earth minerals today is a fundamental way we can prepare ourselves for a successful and secure tomorrow – which is why I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill.”

“Anyone who wants to stand up to China needs to support this bill to diminish our dependence on China’s critical and rare earth minerals by encouraging trade partnerships with our allies,” said Senator Lankford. “Oklahomans know it’s critically important to solve our dependence on China for minerals because we use these materials every day in everything from cellphones and batteries to military gear and medical devices. I look forward to coming together with our allies, instead of begging for minerals from China.”

“The United States has spent years cultivating and strengthening our ties with the Quad partnership countries, and working with them is a commonsense step towards eliminating China from our critical mineral supply chain,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would ensure critical minerals for everything from consumer electronics to military defenses come from our allies instead of an adversary like China.”

“The ubiquity of critical minerals in our daily lives, and their importance in so many modern and emerging technologies, means that ensuring that our supply chains for these critical minerals are robust and secure is essential. China’s control of much of market for these minerals and other rare earth elements – combined with the exponential growth in demand that is expected in the coming years – is particularly alarming,” said Senator Warner. “I’m glad that the Biden administration recognizes this threat, and the comprehensive strategy and multilateral engagement that this bill calls for—in concert with our close Quad partners, like India—will be an important step in meeting this challenge.”

In light of the national security threat posed by China’s control of nearly two-thirds of the global supply of rare earth elements and many other critical minerals, the bill would direct the Administration to leverage the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (United States, Japan, India, and Australia) to promote shared investment and development of this critical resource. The partnership would utilize the US Development Finance Corporation to support new development projects, production technologies, and refining facilities in coordination with our Quad partners to produce a more reliable and secure supply chain of critical minerals, and direct the United States Trade Representative to reduce trade barriers for critical minerals.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator King is committed to advancing American competitiveness in 21st century technologies while improving national security and strengthening cyberdefenses. Senator King is the co-chair of the Senate Semiconductor Caucus, and has been one of the Senate’s leading advocates for improving battery technology and recycling as a way to strengthen national security and create good-paying American jobs. Last year, he introduced the Battery Material Processing and Component Manufacturing Act, to boost domestic production of batteries, and the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act of 2021, to incentivize the recycling of single use and rechargeable batteries. 

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