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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Rare earths policy 'in line with WTO'

By Ding Qingfen and Li Jiabao and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

08:08, March 14, 2012

Beijing defends export curbs after US files case at world trade body

Protecting the environment and the efficient management of resources were the factors that shaped China's rare earths policy in accordance with global trade rules, the Ministry of Commerce said.

The ministry was responding on Tuesday to the US filing a case, along with Japan and the EU, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China's export controls over rare earths, which are critical for the manufacturing of high-tech products.

US action against China's rare earths export curbs, and the recent setting up in Washington of a trade enforcement unit that analysts believe targets China, will sour economic relations, the ministry said.

"We knew it (the case) would come some day. Now it has come but China has long been ready for it," Li Chenggang, head of the ministry's department of treaty and law, told China Daily.

"The WTO has repeatedly recognized, and agreed, on the legitimacy of China's goal of protecting the environment and preventing a drain of rare earths resources through export management," he said.

At a news briefing on Tuesday, Liu Weimin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, also said that there were no grounds to blame China.

"China will continue to manage exports and make sure a certain volume of rare earths are available for export according to the WTO rules."

China produces about 97 percent of the world's rare earths but domestic reserves have been depleted sharply over the last 50 years.

A dispute with Tokyo in 2010, after Japan illegally detained a Chinese trawler captain, disrupted exports to Japan.

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Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

McKechnie at 2012-03-1565.95.206.*
The USA and the other collection of countries that have rare earth metals need to increase production to offset Chinese limits on these minerals.
Todd at 2012-03-15108.32.203.*
If China only has 36% of the rare earth mineral reserves. That means they are 64% available elsewhere. Go buy from those sources. The world wants China"s because of the cheap price.
hongmao at 2012-03-14108.89.33.*
Never mind WTO rules, all China has to do is to classify rare earth metals as critical to national security.USA todate refuse to sell some 24000 products to China ostensibly out of concern for military use. Yet most of rare earth minerals sold by China to USA go into smart bombs, missiles and modern armaments.Now who is the dumb party here ?
McCarthy at 2012-03-14206.125.72.*
China will get a lesson in United States dominance of world organizations such as the WTO, and will lose this case even though they are taking the prudent and correct course in the management of thier raw materials such as rare minerals. China needs to grow up because they are playing with a stacked deck against the most ruthless group of thieves and professional con men their has ever been. It is like watching a guppy in the shark tank, very painful indeed. After the United States gets done looting your resources and exploiting the Chinese people for cheap labor they will turn on you like a mad dog with rabies.
Canada at 2012-03-1470.36.49.*
Why is the West not required to build mines and export rare earths if it"s true they have 2/3 of the world"s supply? A guest on the business channel said Molycorp closed it"s mine in California in the 1980"s because of damage to the environment and pricing.

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