DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Steve Stockman
Sent By: annamaria.hoffman@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 4883
Date: 6/30/2014

Dear Colleague,

China is waging economic war against the United States.  We have seen this in the cyber world already.  The rare earth element market is another front in this war.  China is forcing manufacturers to relocate production lines that include rare earth minerals.  These manufactures have no choice, because there is no other source of rare earth minerals.  The Chinese government is guaranteeing the supply chain, but only to companies that move their manufacturing base to China.  When the companies move their production lines to China, they are being forced to hand over their intellectual property.  This is costing the US economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs every year.  Chinese mercantilist practices are having an enormously regressive economic impact on the American middle class.

The average American touches a component made from a rare earth mineral multiple times a day.  He or she may not even know it.  Your phone, car, and computer all have components made from rare earth minerals.  Even the national defense of the United States relies on components from rare earth minerals.

The Department of Defense is dependent upon rare earth minerals for dozens of weapons systems.  Some of the most advanced weapon systems in the military have a “made in China” stamp on them. Why would we hand over the keys to the defense industrial base to China?  Quite frankly some U.S. military operations are dependent on what China says.  If this is not a national security matter, what is?

The National Rare Earth Cooperative Act of 2014 is the answer to these problems.  China has used its rare earth mineral monopoly to acquire intellectual property, and as an economic weapon.  China has already threatened to use rare earth minerals as an economic weapon against Japan in 2010.

Companies from around the world have had enough, and many want to move manufacturing out of China.  They feel compelled to move their manufacturing to countries that respect intellectual property rights.  This bill solves the monopoly issue, as it permits a co-op to form.  This co-op would be privately funded by consumers and suppliers of rare earth minerals.  This bill solves the national security issues.  This bill also states all DOD purchased or procured weapon systems must contain only U.S. or allied produced and sourced rare earth materials, metals, magnets, parts, and / or components.  This will end the DOD reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

The National Rare Earth Cooperative Act of 2014 is literally a “shovel ready” jobs bill.  Because it permits the creation of a privately funded thorium bank, companies can start to mine previously mined locations.  There are tailings piles full of rare earth minerals all over the United States, but until the thorium issue is resolved, companies will not process rare earth minerals here.  The bill will have an immediate positive economic impact, and help secure the return of our manufacturing base.  The cooperative also pays back the administrative cost of the set up, and the dues are paid by private companies: this bill will not cost the taxpayer a dime.

I would greatly appreciate your support for The National Rare Earth Cooperative Act of 2014.  If you are interested in becoming a cosponsor or would like additional information, please contact Printus LeBlanc on my staff at x5-1555 or printus.leblanc@mail.house.gov.

Warmest wishes,

Steve Stockman

U.S. House of Representatives

36th District of Texas