After U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned a new wave of sanctions being planned on Russia, China, and Iran, the three key players of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a de facto military alliance, China and Russia moved ahead by drafting up plans in order to implement countersanctions on titanium, essentially affecting 2/3 of the world’s titanium sponge production. These sanctions would not only affect the civil aviation industry but since Boeing gets approx. 35% of its titanium just from Russia, the F-22, F-35, and other advanced stealth aircraft could just get that much more expensive to produce and maintain.
Of course, the situation is much more complicated than that. Although there are doubts if they could actually deliver, Ukraine is very interested in a western investment in the range of $2.5 billion in order to build their own titanium facilities in Ukraine in the future essentially aiming to replace Russian titanium by setting out toproduce ~40,000 tonnes of titanium sponge a year. At this time because of the tight geopolitical situation, but mainly due to the low-quality of the titanium (unfit for the aerospace industry) that can be found in Ukraine, this option seems to be off the table for now.
For the time being neither the U.S. nor the European Union has imposed any sanctions on Russian companies producing and selling titanium.
China, the other main target of U.S. sanctions, since Trump started his seemingly endless crusade, wants to de-escalate the trade war which is being ramped up by the U.S. President himself.
The recent news of a brand new batch of sanctions being planned on China can be summed up with one word: ludicrous. Instead of starting negotiations with the Chinese government, Donald Trump would like to see new sanctions imposed on whole ranges of new products while trying to gain legitimacy for this move the White House is citing Muslim detention camps being operated by China and Russian weapon system purchases made by China.
As I have mentioned above, China and Russia being military allies have the right to sell weapons to each other and get involved in a mutual exchange of technologies. It’s the same as if a third party would penalize the United States with sanctions because it sold F-35s to its ally, the United Kingdom. Or if China would impose sanctions because the United States operates much of the opium production in Afghanistan.