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Ron Wagner

Yellen Says Ukraine Conflict Shows Why West Should End Reliance on China and Russia

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What I have been saying for years now. This should apply to all who are not our friends. RCW

BRUSSELS—Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. and Europe should seek to end their reliance on China for commodities such as rare-earth minerals, calling more broadly for Western countries and their allies to shift trading relations away from potential global rivals.

In a speech at the Brussels Economic Forum on Tuesday, Ms. Yellen pointed to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as she argued that countries shouldn't make themselves beholden to Russia or China for critical commodities such as oil. The U.S. and European Union are still grappling with how to best free the European economy of its dependence on Russian oil and gas.

Ms. Yellen has previously called for the U.S. and its allies to begin what is known as friend-shoring—the process of moving supply chains to political partners to protect against future economic conflict.

"We have become too vulnerable to countries using their market positions in raw materials, technologies or products to exercise geopolitical leverage or disrupt markets for their own gain," she said.

She called out China's status as a major producer of rare-earth minerals, as well as its efforts to become a major manufacturer of semiconductors.

Europe and the U.S. should collaborate closely on how to pressure China to change its economic behavior, Ms. Yellen said. Responding to the war in Ukraine has helped knit the U.S. and EU closer together, potentially bolstering efforts to address China's role in emerging technologies, among other issues.

"China is more likely to respond favorably if it cannot play one of us off against the other,” she said. “We should all aspire to encouraging China to drop objectionable practices."

The Chinese Embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.


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