On the evening of July 3, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs announced that in order to safeguard national security and interests, with the approval of the State Council, it was decided to implement export controls on items related to gallium and germanium. The announcement will come into effect on August 1, 2023.
It is worth mentioning that both gallium and germanium are important rare metals .materials, new energyand other fields are widely used. Among them, gallium is called ” the new food of the semiconductor industry”, and germanium is also one of the important semiconductor materials. From the perspective of global production, China’s gallium and germanium metal production accounted for the highest proportion, as high as 90% and 68% respectively. Some analysts pointed out that the trade structure of the global gallium and germanium market may change in the future, and the export quota of China’s gallium and germanium may be reduced, and the possibility of rising prices of related products cannot be ruled out.
Prior to this, the Netherlands and the United States continued to take actions in the semiconductor field. Among them, the Dutch government announced new regulations restricting the export of certain advanced semiconductor equipment, which will take effect on September 1; A so-called “combination punch” by Chinese chipmakers will further restrict sales of chip-making equipment.
On the evening of July 3, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs issued an announcement stating that in accordance with the relevant provisions of the “Export Control Law of the People’s Republic of China”, “Foreign Trade Law of the People’s Republic of China” and “Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China”, in order to safeguard national security and interests, the Approved by the State Council, it was decided to implement export controls on items related to gallium and germanium. The announcement will come into effect on August 1, 2023.
The announcement made it clear that items meeting the following characteristics shall not be exported without permission:
1. Gallium-related items: metal gallium (single substance), gallium nitride(including but not limited to wafer, powder, scrap and other forms), gallium oxide (including but not limited to polycrystalline, single crystal, wafer, epitaxial wafer, powder, scrap and other forms), gallium phosphide (including but not limited to polycrystalline crystal, single crystal, wafer, epitaxial wafer, etc.), gallium arsenide (including but not limited to polycrystalline, single crystal, wafer, epitaxial wafer, powder, scrap, etc.), indium gallium arsenide, gallium selenide (including but not limited to Not limited to polycrystalline, single crystal, wafer, epitaxial wafer, powder, scrap, etc.), gallium antimonide (including but not limited to polycrystalline, single crystal, wafer, epitaxial wafer, powder, scrap, etc.);
2. Germanium-related items: metal germanium (single substance, including but not limited to crystal, powder, crushed materials, etc.), zone-melted germanium ingots, phosphorus, germanium and zinc (including but not limited to crystals, powder, crushed materials, etc.), germanium Epitaxial growth substrate, germanium dioxide, germanium tetrachloride.
The announcement emphasizes that if an export operator exports without a license, exports beyond the scope of the license, or has other violations, the Ministry of Commerce or the Customs and other departments will impose administrative penalties in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Constitute a crime, be held criminally responsible.
New food for the semiconductor industry
Both gallium and germanium are important rare metals, widely used in semiconductor materials, new energy and other fields. Among them, gallium is called “the new grain of the semiconductor industry” and is widely used in photovoltaics, magnetic materials, medical treatment, chemical industry, especially wireless communication, LEDGallium arsenide, as an important second-generation semiconductor material, is currently one of the most mature and most productive compound semiconductor materials.
Therefore, gallium metal is not only regarded as one of the strategic reserve minerals in China, but also listed in the strategic or key mineral catalog by the European Union, the United States, Japan and other developed regions.
According to Asian Metal Metal Encyclopedia, at present, the consumption fields of gallium metal in China include semiconductors and optoelectronic materials, solar energyBattery, alloys, medical devices, magnetic materials, etc. Among them, the semiconductor industry has become the largest consumption area of gallium, accounting for about 80% of the total consumption. With the rapid development of gallium’s downstream application industries, especially the semiconductor and solar cell industries, the global demand for gallium metal will grow steadily in the future.
It should be emphasized that gallium metal is very rare, according to Changjiang Nonferrous MetalsNet reports that the world’s proven reserves of gallium metal are only 279,300 tons, and China has 190,000 tons, accounting for about 68%.
From the perspective of global production, China’s production accounts for the highest proportion. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) data, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Germany, and Ukraine stopped gallium production in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2019 respectively. As of 2021, it will account for more than 90% of the global gallium production.
In 2022, the export volume of my country’s gallium products will increase significantly. According to data from the General Administration of Customs, from January to November 2022, my country exported a total of 89.35 tons of gallium products, an increase of 44.1% over the same period in 2021.
In addition, germanium is also one of the important semiconductor materials, and has extensive and important applications in semiconductors, aerospace measurement and control, nuclear physics detection, optical fiber communication, infrared optics, solar cells , chemical catalysts, biomedicine and other fields.
According to USGS data, China accounts for 41% of global germanium resources, and the United States accounts for 45%. In 2021, the global production of primary germanium will be about 130 tons, of which China and Russia account for 70% of the world’s total. China is the world’s largest germanium producer, accounting for 68%. In the past ten years, it has supplied 68.5% of the world’s total germanium .
From the perspective of import and export trade, China is one of the important exporters of germanium oxide and germanium dioxide in the world, and the export volume is much higher than the import. From the distribution of export regions, the main export destinations of germanium oxide and germanium dioxide in my country are Japan, France, Spain, Germany, South Korea, Italy, the United States and other places.
Some analysts pointed out that China may strictly control the production and export volume of gallium and germanium. In the future, there may be major changes in the trade structure of the global gallium and germanium market. The export quota of China’s gallium and germanium may be reduced. The upward trend of related product prices cannot be ruled out. possible.
The Netherlands and the United States continue to move
It is worth mentioning that recently, the Netherlands and the United States have continued to move in the semiconductor field:
Among them, the Dutch government officially announced new regulations restricting the export of certain advanced semiconductor equipment, which will require companies that manufacture advanced chip manufacturing equipment to obtain a license before exporting. These regulations will take effect on September 1;
In addition, Reuters reported that the United States and the Netherlands are trying to give Chinese chip manufacturers a set of so-called “combo punches”, which will further restrict the sale of chip manufacturing equipment.
In this regard, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce responded on July 1 that China has noticed relevant reports. In recent months, China and the Netherlands have carried out multi-level and multi-frequency communication and consultation on the issue of semiconductor export control. However, the Dutch side still put the relevant semiconductor equipment under control in the end, and the Chinese side expressed dissatisfaction with this.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce said that in recent years, in order to maintain its global hegemony, the United States has continued to generalize the concept of national security, abused export control measures, and even sacrificed the interests of its allies to coerce other countries to suppress and contain China’s semiconductor industry, artificially promoting the development of the industry. Decoupling and breaking chains will seriously damage the development of the global semiconductor industry. China firmly opposes this.
The spokesperson said that the Netherlands should proceed from the maintenance of international economic and trade rules and the overall situation of China-Netherlands economic and trade cooperation, respect market principles and the spirit of the contract, avoid relevant measures that hinder the normal cooperation and development of the semiconductor industry of the two countries, and not abuse export control measures, and earnestly safeguard the interests of China and the Netherlands. The common interests of enterprises and both parties are to maintain the stability of the supply chain of the global semiconductor industry chain.
In addition, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mao Ning, responded that China firmly opposes the US side’s generalization of the concept of national security, abuse of export controls, coercion of other countries under various pretexts to impose a technological blockade on China, and administrative interference in normal economic and trade exchanges between companies. Seriously undermining market rules and the international economic and trade order, and impacting the stability of the global production and supply chain are not in the interests of any party. China will pay close attention to relevant developments and resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.