China and Russia are very different, but one commitment could bring them together –to take away the world superpower post from the US. But how can these two countries achieve this?The answer presents itself in the form of technology metals. These metals are a crucial need for not only the military, but also for the healthcare and energy sector and most importantly, for the production and manufacturing of high tech products.
Tech metals are an extremely valuable asset because of their ever increasing market demand. Due to the tech superiority emphasis of the US Armed Forces, abundant supply of these metals is critical for them. Not only this, a lot of US projects and various sectors are dependent on a good supply of these Tech Metals.
Tech metals to the US Army are mostly supplied by China and though this dependency is expected to drop down by 2025, the US is still producing these metals in considerably lesser amounts than China that is responsible for 86% of tech metal production in the world. These metals can be found in bastnasite and monazite deposits. Bastnasite, in great quantities, is found only in China and the US, but monazite is found in many parts of the world including China. Almost 48% of the entire world’s reserves can be found in China alone.
Since they can be found elsewhere, many other places are investing in the production of these metals too, so China cannot solely enjoy this advantage. Beijing may think of forming a coalition with other major suppliers such as Malaysia, India and Australia to manipulate costs in light of its own benefit.
An international Cartel is, therefore, most likely to be formed to take advantage of this resourceful monopoly and Russia could be among the main partners of this cartel. If China and Russia are successful in persuading Central Asia to join in to form this cartel, then together they can potentially gain around 65% reserves of the world.
With their huge quantities of deposits, Australia and India look like this cartel’s prospective partners too but political affiliations would also be required as opposed to sole economic interests. Brazil and South Africa also pose to be potential partners of this cartel but China and Russia would need to ensure one thing – developed economies should not be able to easily bypass their monopoly by purchasing tech metals from elsewhere.
Difficulties could certainly arise with this cartel, but its bargaining position could highly be strengthened. The supply of tech metals should be about 5 to 10 times more than it is now, in light of its ever increasing demand.
A Sino-Russian cartel will definitely be advantageous in potential disputes given the US military forces’ reliance on tech metals. There exists a low amount of trade in these tech metals, but some developed industries require a steady supply. Therefore, there arises an economic leverage opportunity in the interconnected global economy of today.