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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Rare earth exports 'to rise slightly'

By Zhou Yan  (China Daily)

09:08, February 28, 2012

Rare earths waiting to be shipped overseas at the Port of Lianyungang in Jiangsu province. A Chinese official predicted that rare earth exports this year would be higher than in 2011. (Wang Chun / for China Daily)

BEIJING - China is likely to export more rare earths this year as the demand for them increases amid a decrease in their price and as the country maintains the export quotas, according to a former official in the industry.

Wang Caifeng, who was in charge of the rare earths industry at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said on Monday that China, the biggest supplier of the minerals, which are used in much advanced technology, has no intent this year to greatly change the quotas on exports. In 2012, no more than 31,130 metric tons of rare earths are to be exported, only slightly more than in 2011.

In December, the Ministry of Commerce allocated the first round of 2012 export quotas for rare earths, giving nine companies that have export licenses the right to export 10,456 metric tons of the elements. It plans to grant other companies that have yet to obtain such licenses the right to export a further 14,358 tons of rare earths.

Those two rounds will account for about 80 percent of the rare earths export quotas to be given out this year.

Rare earths consist of 17 elements that are widely used in advanced technology such as hybrid cars and batteries for smartphones.

China's quotas are sufficient to meet global demand and any pressure on the country to export more will not benefit buyers, Wang said.

She said China's crackdown on illegal exploration for the valuable minerals and other measures the country has taken to regulate the industry have not reduced the supply of rare earths to the global market.

In January, the World Trade Organization ruled that China had distorted international trade by adopting policies to control exports of nine industrial materials including zinc and bauxite. Since then, some Western countries have criticized China for its restrictions on exports of rare earths and other natural resources.

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Leave your comment6 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-03-01113.239.228.*
helen - any time you want war, it is yours. American"s don"t run
PD User at 2012-03-01113.239.228.*
I grow tired. When you want war, just jump. Or are you coward
PD User at 2012-02-2960.18.110.*
wende- nobody is forcing China to sell anything to the west. Nobody is forcing China to pollute it"s environment. You are doing that all on your own out of pure greed. Soon you will have no air to breath or water to drink but that is the decision you have made
wende at 2012-02-2971.255.84.*
China should not kowtow to pressure from the west. Rare earth minerals will be exhausted and China will be polluted. Why should China export 95% when its reserve is about 30%. There are ways to retaliate through horse-trading. Hit them where it hurts and they will negotiate.
PD User at 2012-02-2860.51.51.*
That China can be forced to sell its own minerals proves that it has lost its sovereignty, as during the Ching dynasty. This is where the Communist Party has taken us.

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