China to continue rare earth export, mulling full-year quotas

20:16, January 18, 2011      

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China will continue rare earth export and regulate export quotas according to World Trade Organization rules, said the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

China announced its first batch of 2011 rare earth export quotas at 14,446 tonnes at the end of 2010.

The full-year quotas are under discussion and will be announced timely, said Yao Jian, a spokesman with the ministry, at a news briefing here.

The country exported 35,000 tonnes of rare earth from January to November in 2010, up 14.5 percent from a year earlier. Exports to Japan, the European Union and the United States accounted for 86 percent of the total exports, said Yao.

He said that it is normal that rare earth prices fluctuate with demand and supply and China acted responsibly last year to ensure basic demand for the minerals was met.

China has noticed that other countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, have increased exploitation of rare earth in their own countries. "This will effectively safeguard the global supply," said Yao.

With around 36 percent of the world's rare earth reserves, China supplies 90 percent of global demand.

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