Here's how China could go nuclear on the US tech industry if Trump's trade war takes a turn for the worse
President Donald Trump. (AFP / Jim WATSON)

President Donald Trump has gotten a lot of flack for toying with US-China trade relations.

One area in which he's earned praise is cracking down on Chinese breaches of U.S. tech patents. But as Business Insider reports, even that has not been a total victory for the President.

"China has a trump card up its sleeve," The Business Insider observes.

"It could utilize its position as a leading supplier of rare-earth materials if the trade war escalates, according to a recent report. As recently as Tuesday, President Donald Trump reiterated the US was not prepared to strike a deal."

"The importance of China's supply of rare-earth elements has come into focus as a resolution to the trade hostilities between the US and China remains elusive," The Insider continues. "Rare earths represent a critical component for the manufacturing and development of hi-tech products such as smartphones and electric vehicles."

"China is the leading supplier of rare earths and accounts for 78% of global production, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch," they continue. "Should tensions surrounding the trade war escalate, China's control of the elements could represent a key source of leverage in negotiations, the bank said."