May 12, 2015
A high percentage of many raw and semi-finished materials critical to U.S. manufacturing are imported. China is the controlling producer of 11 of these materials and has instituted export restrictions that have led to two-tier pricing, creating pressure to move manufacturing to China. This report suggests the need for actions to mitigate the impact of such market distortions on the global manufacturing sector.
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The United States economy, and especially its manufacturing sector, is dependent on the supply of raw and semi-finished materials used to make products. While the United States has extensive mineral resources and is a leading global materials producer, a high percentage of many materials critical to U.S. manufacturing are imported, sometimes from a country that has the dominant share of a material's global production and export. This report specifically identifies 14 critical materials for which production is concentrated in countries with weak governance, as indicated by the World Governance Indicators published by the World Bank. China is the controlling producer of 11 of these critical raw materials, nine of which have been identified as having high economic importance and high supply risk. As its market share and domestic consumption of critical materials has grown, China has instituted production controls, export restrictions, mine closings, and company consolidations that have led to two-tier pricing, which creates pressure to move manufacturing to China and contributes to strong price increases for these materials on the world market. To mitigate the impact of these market distortions on the global manufacturing sector, this report suggests the need for actions that (1) increase resiliency to supply disruptions or market distortions and (2) provide early warning of developing problems concerning the concentration of production.
Concentration of Production of Critical Raw Materials
China's Role as a Controlling Producer
Tungsten: Case Example of a Critical Raw Material
Conclusions and Response Options
Top Three Producers of the 41 EC Critical Raw Materials
The World's Largest Tungsten Deposits