China has imposed restrictions on exports of two metals used to make semiconductors and other electronics. This is likely to increase costs for equipment manufacturers and worsen geopolitical tensions over the race to develop advanced computing technologies, writes Bloomberg.

According to the announcement of the Ministry of Commerce of China, from August 1, gallium and germanium, as well as their chemical compounds, will be subject to export control. According to the document, the implementation of these measures will serve China’s national security and national interests.

China is a leading producer of 20 of the most important raw materials, including gallium and germanium. It also dominates the production and processing of refined raw materials. These two metals are used in a wide range of products such as solar panels, lasers, night vision goggles and computer chips.

Exporters of these two metals will have to apply for licenses to the Ministry of Commerce if they want to start or continue to export them from the country. Firms are required to provide detailed information about foreign buyers and their applications. If necessary, the review may be referred to the State Council.

The move is the latest step in a global struggle to control technologies vital to its industrial and military capabilities, and could be seen as an escalation of worsening relations between China and strategic rivals such as the United States.

It was previously reported that the Biden Administration plans to strengthen export controls to restrict the sale of some artificial intelligence chips to China.