Chinese Commerce Ministry approves exports of gallium, germanium in accordance with law
Published: Sep 21, 2023 07:09 PM
A worker tests semiconductor chips in a factory in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province, on April 14, 2023. Photo: VCG

A worker tests semiconductor chips in a factory in Yancheng, East China's Jiangsu Province, on April 14, 2023. Photo: VCG

A number of applications to export gallium and germanium products - core parts of semiconductors - in line with China's regulations have been approved by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), and the exporters have obtained export licenses.

The ministry will continue to examine other export applications in accordance with required procedures and make licensing decisions, He Yadong, a spokesperson for the MOFCOM, said on Thursday during a regular press conference.

In mid-August, the MOFCOM said it had received some export applications and would make decisions in relation to China's national security and interests, international obligations, the end-users and the intended end use.

On July 3, the MOFCOM and the General Administration of Customs (GAC) jointly issued a notice on placing export controls on gallium and germanium related items, which was effective from August 1.

Exports that are in line with the rules will still be allowed, but it will take time for relevant departments to review the applications, analysts said. Global supply chains will not be disrupted.

According to data from the GAC, China exported zero gallium and germanium related items in August, while exports in July, before the export controls became effective, surged

China exported 7.58 tons of gallium products in July, a new monthly high for 2023 and up 372.6 percent on a monthly basis. Exports of germanium products totaled 1,506 tons in July, up 25.3 percent from June. 

In the first eight months of 2023, Japan was the top buyer of China's gallium products, with purchases of 13.085 tons valued at $3.61 million, according to the GAC. 

The Netherland was the second-largest buyer, having imported 8.08 tons with a value of $3.85 million.

During the same period, Japan imported 2,231 tons of germanium products from China, with a value of $20.36 million, followed by France with 1,717 tons and South Korea with 1,422 tons, GAC data showed.

Gallium, germanium and related compounds are at the heart of the semiconductor industry. Their economic and strategic values are increasingly prominent, especially for the development of the high-tech sector.

China is the largest producer of gallium and germanium. Its gallium output accounts for more than 90 percent of the global total and germanium production accounts for more than 60 percent of the world's total, official data showed. 

Global Times