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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Rare earth case reveals US hypocrisy

By Chen Weihua (China Daily)

15:31, March 15, 2012

US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the United States, joined by Japan and the European Union, has filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over China's rare earth export quotas.

He said this as an effort to give "American workers and American businesses a fair shot in the global economy".

His words, however, imply that he does not really care about the environmental degradation caused by China's disorderly and excessive mining of rare earth materials, as long as US workers and businesses can profit from China's cheap supply.

This is shocking for a president who likes to portray himself as pro-environment when he fights Republican presidential candidates over clean energy issues, or when he tried to restore the US' leadership role at the UN Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, in December 2009.

China's new regulations on rare earth manufacturing and exports, which were introduced a few years ago, are based on the sound rationale of sustainable growth and environmental protection.

With only a third of the world's rare earth deposits, China now produces over 90 percent of the global rare earth minerals, a group of 17 elements that are widely used in high-tech products such as solar panels, batteries for electric cars and cell phones.

The lack of strong regulations in the past has posed grave dangers to the country and its people by depleting natural resources and destroying the environment. For example, rare earth mining has polluted drinking water in regions along some waterways linked to rare earth mines.

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Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-03-19201.116.231.*
We should not sell anymore rare earth to any outsders for the reason that they are makind it as part of kiling machine to kill people. Sell non to japan, non to USA and non to the EURO nations .
Kissimiwa at 2012-03-19201.116.231.*
Rare earth should not be exported because it use for weapons , killing people.weapons making for killing people, no to japan,usa euro countries.NO,no more export to weapon market. Pleas do not export rare earth
Harry ong at 2012-03-1760.51.34.*
This show the mind set of the developed country against the up coming nation. They put up restriction only to show that they are concern but in actual facts they are the culprit. In US and Australia there are plenty rare earth deposit, why they are not mining and refining it at their backyards? WHY? Because they want to show they concern about the environment. When other start to show the same concerns they start critising others are carrying unfair trade. To claim that start the production line at your own backyard first. Same go to the Lynas of Australia.
W A T at 2012-03-17184.7.243.*
I am with you when it concerns the U.S. being a hyprocit concerning using our resources vs. letting other nations destroy their country for our gain. The U.S. has enough natural resources to "Make our own way". We do not need any other country for natural resources, but because the U.S. Government has become a captive of the environmental leftist, we have no choice but to beg for resources from other countries. I think China should stand up to the U.S. and say "NO MORE". Let the U.S. sink or swim when it comes to deciding to either do our own dirty work or continue to rely on other countries.
wende at 2012-03-1671.255.83.*
The western media maliciously and incorrectly reports that China produces 90% of the rare earth. Chinese media should continously correct them by saying China accounts for 90% of the world trade on rare earth but has only 30% of the reserve. This imbalance is hurting China"s environment and depleting its resources. Other countries, such as US, is intentionally withholding rare earth extraction to protect their own environment and is waiting for China to exhaust its resources. The same with petroleum. US has oil but it keeps on importing from middle east so that it can preserve its oil and let other ruin their environment. China must fight relentlessly in WTO and in the media.

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