In the current international situation, the United States, together with its allies, actively leads the suppression of China's semiconductor industry. This action has attracted widespread attention from the international community, especially the actions of the United States, Japan and the Netherlands. Among them, the United States has been unscrupulously intervening in China's science and technology sector, including technology blockade, high tariffs, and even framing accusations, which has caused a strong reaction from China.
China's Ministry of Commerce announced export controls on gallium and germanium on August 1, seen as a powerful counterattack to the U.S. and its allies' technological blockade of China. As key semiconductor materials, gallium and germanium play a pivotal role in China. Data show that germanium metal, which accounts for 41% of global reserves, and gallium metal, which accounts for 80%-85% of global reserves, are indispensable materials and are widely used in military and civilian fields. China's export controls on both materials have naturally raised concerns among the United States and its allies.
Although China has made it clear that export controls are not targeted at any particular country, Japan has reacted quickly and taken a threatening gesture to retaliate against China. Japanese Economy Minister Yasuminoru Nishimura said that although it was not clear whether the Chinese measures were aimed at Japan, Japan would take countermeasures in accordance with international rules. This attitude has led to some views that the United States has been actively lobbying allies such as Japan to continuously strengthen its suppression of China's semiconductor industry in order to maintain its technological hegemony.
It cannot be ignored that China's export control measures are not only a counterattack to the United States, but also a strong signal to Western countries. According to reports, the largest exporters of China's gallium products in 2022 are Japan, Germany and the Netherlands, all of which have recently joined the US blockade of Chinese semiconductor technology. China's position is clear, and safeguarding its own interests is a top priority, but it will also decisively take countermeasures against countries that seek to limit China's scientific and technological development.
It is worth mentioning that Japan has been pressured and controlled by the United States in the past history, especially in the 80s of last century, the United States imposed high tariffs on Japan and imposed market share and other measures, which dealt a heavy blow to the Japanese semiconductor industry. This led to a series of compromise measures by Japan under the influence of the United States, including the signing of the Plaza Accord, which caused long-term damage to the Japanese economy. Japan's subordination has attracted widespread attention and criticism and is seen as a sacrifice for its own interests.
In recent years, the United States has again tried to take similar repressive measures against China, containing the development of Chinese high-tech enterprises in the name of national security and diplomatic interests. However, this series of measures did not achieve the desired results, but instead inspired China to more firmly defend its interests. During the Trump administration, the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was widely criticized, and Meng's return to China was seen as a failure of the US repression policy.
In addition, the United States cracked down on the French company Alstom in 2013, involving the detention of senior executive Pierucci and hefty fines. The incident led to Alstom's power business eventually being acquired by General Electric of the United States, and the French company suffered a heavy blow. These historical lessons have made China more resolute in responding to the scientific and technological blockade of the United States and its allies and taking strong countermeasures.
All in all, China's export controls on gallium and germanium are not only a counterattack to the United States, but also a manifestation of China's determination to defend its own interests. China's position is very clear and it will not take the initiative to infringe on the interests of other countries, but if other countries take hostile actions against China, China will decisively take countermeasures. This incident once again highlighted the game and competition in international relations, and also reminded countries of the need for mutual respect and equal cooperation to achieve a peaceful and stable international order. Only through dialogue and cooperation can we jointly address global challenges and achieve a win-win future.