(May 29): Beijing is gearing up to use its dominance of rare earths as a counter in its trade battle with Washington, according to a salvo of media reports in China that included hints from the state planning agency. Stocks of producers surged.

The US shouldn’t underestimate China’s ability to fight the trade war, the People’s Daily, a flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary Wednesday. It isn’t hard to answer the question whether China will use rare earths as a weapon as retaliation in the trade war, the paper said.

China is “seriously” considering restricting rare earth exports to the US and may also implement other countermeasures, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party, said in a tweet. An official at the National Development & Reform Commission told CCTV that people in the country won’t be happy to see products made with exported rare earths being used to suppress China’s development.

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