Trump Enlists Pentagon on Rare-Earth Magnets Amid Chinese Threat

July 22, 2019, 10:57 PM

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the U.S. Defense Department to spur the production of a slew of rare-earth magnets used in consumer electronics, military hardware and medical research, amid concerns China will restrict exports of the products.

Trump invoked the 69-year-old Defense Production Act, once used to preserve American steelmaking capacity, to remedy what he called “a shortfall” in production of the super-strong magnets made with rare-earth minerals neodymium and samarium.

U.S. capacity to produce the magnets “is essential to the national defense,” Trump asserted in issuing the designations Monday. Without action, Trump said, American industry “cannot reasonably be ...

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