With names like europium, scandium and ytterbium, the bulk of rare earth minerals are extracted from mines in China, where lower wages and lax environmental standards make production cheaper and easier.
Whether Trump cuts a deal or escalates the economic war with China, Delhi can’t continue with its trade policy lassitude. On the other hand, the rejigging of the political relations between America, China and Russia might present Delhi with fleeting strategic opportunities that need to be seized quickly.
Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods beginning on Friday after China backtracked on substantial commitments it made during ongoing trade talks, top U.S. trade officials said this week.
Markets were nervously awaiting the start of two-day trade talks in Washington later in the global day to see if Chinese negotiators can convince the White House to back down on a threatened tariff hike Friday.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who has been an advocate for tough structural changes in China, said Beijing had reneged on commitments it had made previously that would have changed the agreement substantially.
The government's pledge to reduce its influence over operational matters in China's manufacturing sector follows an apparent toning down of its high-tech industrial push, which has long annoyed the United States.
"This issue is bigger than just China. It is about demonstrating to strongmen globally that the world will hold them accountable for their actions," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.