China Places Curbs on Export of Graphite Used in EV Batteries

The temporary restrictions will take effect from December 1, 2023


The battle for control of critical minerals has taken another turn, with China placing restrictions on the export of graphite used in electrical vehicle (EV) batteries.

China’s Commerce Ministry announced ‘temporary’ export control of sensitive graphite products, including highly sensitive spheroidized graphite. The move, it said, was to ensure the stability and security of the global supply chain and safeguard national interests.

The export restrictions will take effect on December 1, 2023.

China, which produces up to 90% of the world’s graphite, said the export curbs on the critical mineral was to ensure the stability of the global supply chain and safeguard the country’s interests.

The move comes in the wake of measures taken by various countries to gain a share of the critical minerals pie.

In September, the European Union announced it would order an investigation against cheaper Chinese EV imports, which it said may be benefiting from state subsidies.

Earlier this year, the United States agreed on separate trade deals with the EU and Japan on critical minerals used in clean energy technologies and reduce reliance on China for strategic resources.

A spokesman of China’s Commerce Ministry said, “As the world’s largest producer and exporter of graphite, China has long been firmly fulfilling its international obligations such as non-proliferation. Based on the need to safeguard national security and interests, China has implemented export controls on specific graphite items in accordance with the law and implemented temporary controls on some graphite items.”

“China’s normal adjustment of export controls does not target any specific country or region, and exports that comply with relevant regulations will be permitted,” the spokesman added.

The ministry, however, lifted temporary control on five low-sensitive graphite items mainly used in industries such as steel, metallurgy, and chemicals.

Countries across the world are forging alliances with mineral-rich nations to source critical minerals and making efforts to exploit internally available resources.

The government of India recently announced a 25% incentive on the approved project cost for exploration agencies to encourage the mining of critical minerals by private parties. India has also identified 30 critical minerals, including graphite, lithium, and cobalt, which can be converted into material used in clean energy technologies.