Tipton Introduces Bill to Reduce America's Reliance on Rare Earth Minerals from China


Today, Representative Scott Tipton (CO-03) introduced a bill to make the United States more competitive with China when it comes to the processing of rare earth minerals. Tipton's bill, the Rare Earth Cooperative 21st Century Manufacturing Act (H.R. 4410), would establish a federal cooperative that would allow for companies to process rare earth minerals they rely on for manufacturing. China is currently the world leader in the rare earth mineral processing market and has used its position as leverage during the U.S.-China trade negotiations.

"From cell phones to medical equipment to solar panels, rare earth minerals are found in just about every piece of modern technology used by millions of Americans every day," said Tipton. "China continues to manipulate American companies by practicing unfair trade tactics which has increased the United States' economic and national security vulnerability, especially when it come to its reliance on rare earth minerals from China. This bill will help reverse that trend by empowering American companies to be more competitive with China, allowing them to responsibly extract and process the rare-earth minerals they rely on to manufacture their products. I look forward to continue advocating for the responsible development of energy resources and encourage my colleagues to act quickly to end this delicate situation."

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio introduced an identical Senate version of the bill in July 2019.

"I thank Congressman Tipton for his leadership in the House on this important issue. As the Chinese government and Communist Party aggressively subsidize and invest in their own economy at our expense, we must shift our policies to restore the competitiveness of critical American industries for the 21st century. The RE-Coop 21st Century Manufacturing Act is a crucial ingredient for the resurgence of America's advanced manufacturing sector by allowing domestic industries to regain competitiveness and break China's control over the global rare earth value chain," Rubio said. "We can't beat China by playing their game, which is why this bill harnesses the American cooperative model as a time-tested way to correct for failed markets without relying on heavy-handed federal intervention. We are in a geopolitical competition that will determine the future prosperity of our nation, and it is long overdue for the U.S. government to act like it in every phase of our work for the American people."

The House bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Chris Stewart (UT-04), Jason Smith (MO-08), David McKinley (WV-01), and Ted Yoho (FL-03).

"The United States currently relies on hostile foreign powers like China for rare earths and critical minerals," added Gosar. "This defies commonsense. It is imperative to both our national and energy security to produce and process rare earths and critical minerals right here in America. I applaud Congressman Tipton for his leadership in seeking to address this issue and am pleased to support his efforts."

"Boosting domestic supply of rare earth minerals is critical for our national security by reducing our dependence on Chinese imports," said Stewart. "Given that Beijing has threatened to cut supplies, we must take steps to protect ourselves. If we don't, modern life will not be possible. I thank Mr. Tipton for leading this effort and call on my colleagues in Congress to act swiftly to pass this important legislation."

"For too long America has been overly reliant upon our adversary China for the mining and production of rare earth minerals, which play a major role in everything from advance technologies for the Department of Defense to the chips needed to power our smartphones," said Smith. "This legislation would increase the production of these minerals, ensure environmental safety, and--most importantly--help create more jobs here in southern Missouri. I want to thank my friend, Congressmen Tipton, for his work on this bill and I look forward to passing this commonsense legislation that will strengthen America's independence and create more jobs here at home."

"From your cellphone to weapons systems, rare earth elements are increasingly important in manufacturing. Currently, China controls the vast majority of the rare earth element supply, putting the United States at risk," McKinley said. "We must work to develop more domestic source to ensure we are not reliant on any foreign country. This bill will go a long way in helping us to build an American supply chain."

Tipton outlined the necessity for the U.S. to curb its reliance on rare earth minerals from China in the Denver Post earlier this year.

The full text of H.R. 4410 is available here.