China denies banning rare earth exports to Japan

08:20, September 25, 2010      

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The Ministry of Commerce denied media reports that China had banned exports of rare earths to Japan, following the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain near the disputed Diaoyu Islands that created a political storm between the two nations.

According to a New York Times report, which sourced unnamed industry experts, an initial trade embargo on all exports of rare earth minerals would last through the end of this month.

Ministry spokesman Yao Jian told the Los Angeles-based China Press that China has not taken any measures to restrict rare earth exports to Japan.

Another Chinese trade official, Chen Rongkai, said the New York Times report had "no foundation," Reuters reported.

As of press time Friday, media reports indicated the detained Chinese captain would be released Saturday.

Yao said that the foreign media speculation might serve to remind Japan that if the country decides to be headstrong on the issue, then China was prepared to take strong counter-measures as well, China Press reported.

Major rare earths traders in China and Japan told Reuters they had not heard of any ban. Rare earths are used in the production of everything from iPhones to weaponry.

Source: Global Times


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