China issues new rare-earth rules

08:46, November 12, 2010      

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The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced Thursday the rules and procedures for companies that apply for rare-earth export quotas, saying that all the companies should get ISO 9000 quality system certification and be equipped with environmental management facilities.

China claims it shut down some disqualified rare-earth factories in light of environmental protection and resource conservation, which has caused decreases in both rare-earth production and exports.

However, some Western media outlets labeled these actions as a trade embargo.

The New York Times (NYT) reported Thursday that China had blocked all shipments of rare-earth minerals to Japan since September 21, and some shipments to the US and Europe in mid-October.

The NYT report also stated that rare-earth shipments to Japan continued to be held up at Chinese ports, though those to US and Europe have resumed.

In a speech at the sixth China-EU Business Summit last month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said, "It's necessary to regulate and control rare-earth minerals, but we will never block trade. China won't use the rare-earth minerals as a negotiating tool."

"China has to strictly manage the exports and make dynamic adjustments, without hampering development of the world's high-tech industries," Chen Zhanheng, the head of research at the society, which represents the nation's major producers, told Bloomberg. "That's a way to encourage rare-earth resource development in the rest of the world."

Canada sees an opportunity as China is having stricter rules on exporting rare earths.

"For a country like Canada, we do think this represents a long-term opportunity. We're a country rich in resources, including rare earths, and I expect and hope that we'll be able to take some steps in the long term and medium term to meet some of those market needs," Peter Van Loan, Canada's trade minister, told Reuters on Wednesday.

Source: Global Times


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