China Responds to WTO Complaint on Rare Earth Mining Cutbacks

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China Responds to WTO Complaint on Rare Earth Mining Cutbacks
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Added: 22-03-2012
Runtime: 1m 52s
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China's Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology restated on Tuesday that China's decision to cut back on its mining of rare earth elements is due to environmental concerns. [Su Bo, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology]: "Regarding rare earth management, we have a very clear idea and direction, which is environmental protection and the long-term sustainable use of resources." This response comes as Japan has agreed to host a conference with the EU and US to discuss alternative sources to China's rare earth metals. With China controlling about 95% of the world's rare earth market, these high-tech producing nations are looking at alternatives to China's supply. In 2010, China cut off its supply of rare earth metals to Japan, causing prices go up 30-fold. This has created anxiety in developed countries, who rely on rare earth extracts to make advanced technology such as computers and missiles. China has also been talking about developing more of its own industries that use rare earth metals instead of exporting the raw materials to foreign manufacturers. Cutting back on exports would increase supply to Chinese manufacturers and raise international prices. China says it is planning on limiting all mining activity and will not favor their own companies, but it remains to be seen whether they will follow this claim. The Vice Minister's response comes after the US, Japan, and the EU, filed a joint complaint with the WTO, accusing China of protecting its own markets at the expense of foreign markets. /n

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