© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The flag of China is placed next to the elements of Gallium and Germanium on a periodic table, in this illustration picture taken on July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration

BEIJING (Reuters) -Some Chinese companies have obtained export licences for gallium and germanium products, the commerce ministry said on Thursday, after Beijing set new conditions on exports from Aug. 1.

The ministry has approved applications from some companies that meet relevant requirements, spokesman He Yadong told a regular press briefing, with more still being reviewed.

The comments came after China’s exports of germanium and gallium items plunged in August, the first month of the export controls,customs data showed on Wednesday.

That followed a surge in July exports of the two niche metals related to chip-making, when overseas buyers rushed to lock in supply before the curbs took effect.

China unveiled curbs that month on exports of eight gallium and six germanium products, starting from August. It was the latest salvo of an escalating war between Beijing and Washington over access to materials used in making high-tech microchips.

The new rules require exporters of germanium and gallium products to obtain an export licence for dual-use items and technologies, or those which have potential military and civilian uses.

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The commerce ministry said it had received some applications for the export licence in the middle of August.

China’s exports of wrought germanium stood at 36.48 metric tons in the first eight months of 2023, up 58% from the year-earlier period, while shipments of wrought gallium fell 58% on the year to 22.72 tons over the period from January to August.

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