American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Rare Earths Issue Back in the Mix As Trade Tensions With China Escalate

    At ARPN, we have long highlighted the inter-relationship between resource policy and trade policy. While more recently, we looked at tensions in our relationship with Canada over tariffs on aluminum and steel, other areas of concern are coming into focus.

    Mounting tensions over trade with China have brought the Rare Earths issue, with which ARPN followers will be familiar, back to the front pages of American newspapers.

    In a new two-part series for News @ Northeastern, Bill Ibelle argues that Rare Earth Metals are one of the “aces China holds in this high-stakes poker game,” and that U.S. stakeholders would be well advised to consider this leverage in policy considerations.

    Citing Northeastern University Distinguished Professor of International Business and Strategy Ravi Ramamurti, an expert in emerging markets, who says that “President Trump says he holds all the cards, but China’s monopoly on rare earths is one of the aces,” Ibelle writes:

    “A trade war could prompt China to cut off supplies of rare earth metals to American manufacturers. President Trump has already dragged rare earth elements into the conflict by including them on a list of proposed tariffs announced earlier this month.”

    While the tariffs must be considered part of President Trump’s stated – and well-intentioned- goal to decrease U.S. over-reliance on foreign metals and minerals, they are not without challenges. As Ibelle points out:

    “Efforts to find a new supply of rare earth metals, or devise technologies that supplant the need for them, are still in the early stages.”

    And, as ARPN followers know, China will not shy away from playing politics with its near-total supply monopoly  – and the risk of China cutting off supply for the materials the Trump administration is considering to target with tariffs — including, but not limited to REEs — looms large.

    To read Ibelle’s full piece, click here.

  • Trade Patterns May Stay, but Manufacturers and Consumers to Bear the Brunt of Current Tensions Over Aluminum and Steel

    A recent Bloomberg story we featured last week put a face on the specter of trade war over aluminum and steel, and retraced the history of this symbiotic U.S.- Canadian trade relationship and what our very own Dan McGroarty has called the “world’s most integrated defense industrial base.”  

    Digging a little deeper, a new Wall Street Journal piece takes us further into a “tightly woven production chain” which “illustrates the U.S. dependence on aluminum from Canada” and outlines the ramifications of current trade tensions between both countries for manufacturers and consumers.

    The use of hydroelectric power in Quebec, Canada, allows for the cost-efficient operation of energy-intensive aluminum smelters, which in recent decades has led to Canada becoming the key producer of the metal for the United States.

    Writes Kim Mackrael:

    “The U.S. produces just 13% of the 5.6 million metric tons of raw aluminum it uses each year.

    U.S. aluminum smelters are among the costliest and oldest in the world — above $2,000 per metric ton and 47 years on average, according to market consultant Harbor Aluminum in Texas. Canada’s smelters, aged an average 26 years, make the metal for about $1,500 a ton.”

    Citing Eric Krepps, who runs runs the North American automotive business at Constellium NV, a Dutch aluminum company, who argues that there is not enough domestic aluminum production in the U.S., and that “[w]e could not source everything out of the U.S. even if we wanted to,” Mackrael reports that:

    “Instead, the 10% tariffs are already adding costs right down the supply chain — directly through the duty paid at the border and indirectly though higher aluminum prices, delays and added bureaucracy, manufacturers say. Tariffs have contributed to a doubling in the premium paid for North American aluminum since January.

    Analysts and some car companies say the higher aluminum prices will likely be passed on to American car-buyers rather than absorbed entirely by companies.”

    Read more here – and to read more about the security implications of the escalating U.S.-Canada trade tensions over aluminum and steel tariffs, read Dan McGroarty’s recent piece for Investor’s Business Daily, entitled “The U.S.-Canada Trade War’s Collateral Damage: The U.S. Defense Industrial Base.”

  • Arvida, Quebec – Putting a Face on the Specter of Trade War Over Aluminum and Steel

    Last month, our very own Dan McGroarty argued in a piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the escalation of the trade war over U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian made aluminum and steel has serious implications not only for our economy, but also for the U.S. defense industrial base.  In it, he outlined the genesis of [...]
  • McGroarty for IBD: “Subjecting U.S. Aluminum Access to Trade Tensions with Canada National Security Crisis Waiting to Happen”

    Against the backdrop of the recent escalation of the U.S.-Canada trade war, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that while “the focus has been on U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian-made aluminum and steel, and their economic impact,” the “damage the tariffs may do to the U.S. defense industrial base” [...]
  • America’s Critical Mineral Issues are Largely Home-Grown

    A recent commentary piece by Printus LeBlanc, contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government, draws attention to the home-grown nature of America’s critical mineral resource issues and their geo-political context. LeBlanc sets the stage using the example of a relatively unknown Chinese phone company becoming the focus of Congressional concern because the Administration was in [...]
  • McGroarty in The Hill: Copper Should Be Factored Into NAFTA “Auto Rules of Origin” Negotiations

    In a new piece for The Hill, American Resources Policy Network principal Daniel McGroarty zeroes in on the intersection between trade and resource policy. Against the backdrop of the current negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), McGroarty argues that one of the metals ARPN followers have come to know as a [...]
  • Boron – One Of The Most Versatile Materials You’ve Never Heard About?

    Visual Capitalist has put together another great infographic – this time one that shows that Boron is far more ubiquitous than one would think.  You may have come across them in your laundry room or your kids’ slime-making experiments in the form of Borax, but may not have heard much about them otherwise. However, with [...]
  • Through the Gateway: Aluminum – Fueling the Renaissance of American Manufacturing

    Aluminum is not only one of the most sustainable materials these days, it is also making headlines – most recently during the North American Leaders Summit, also dubbed “Three Amigos Summit” held at the end of June in Ottawa, Canada.  Invoking challenges associated with China’s trade policy, President Obama called for the North American countries to [...]
  • Minerals don’t just fuel domestic industries, but also a stronger U.S. trade balance

    ARPN followers are used to our coverage of metals and minerals shortages, and the need to develop more sources of domestic supply.  But the value of U.S.-produced minerals is best evidenced in the ability to meet global needs.  Take borates, one of the relatively few minerals where the U.S. is a net exporter. The issue [...]
  • American Resources Principal for Forbes Magazine: “Forget the WTO”

    Over the past few days, the announcement that the U.S., EU and Japan have decided to file a WTO case against China over its restrictive rare earths policies has caused quite a stir. American Resources Policy Network principal Daniel McGroarty offers his perspective in a column for Forbes. Having previously expressed skepticism over the WTO [...]