Wednesday, December 29, 2010

China cuts export quota on rare earth

Chinese President Hu Jin Tao(right) is to visit his American counterpart Barrack Obama to resolve trade problems

Source: Press TV

China has announced sharp cuts in export quotas for rare earth minerals in the first half of the coming year, raising concerns about its trade ties with major partners.

The metal supplies, vitally needed for making a wide range of high-tech and clean technology products as well as other goods, will decline by 11 percent in 2011, in addition to the 40-percent drop in exports in 2010.

China's Commerce Ministry allotted 14,446 tons of quotas to 31 companies, 11.4 percent less than the 16,304 tons it allocated to 22 companies in the first half of 2010.

China produces around 97 percent of the rare earth elements in the global market.

The announcement, made on Tuesday, will affect the country's trade relations with the United States, the European Union and Japan and has brought about concerns in Washington.

"We are very concerned about China's export restraints on rare earth materials. We have raised our concerns with China and we are continuing to work closely on the issue with stakeholders," Reuters quoted US Trade Representative spokeswoman as saying.

The Trade Representative's Office has said the US could make a complaint to the World Trade Organization if China resumes the export limitations on rare earth minerals.

China says the cuts are based on environmental policies and that ensuring supplies to Chinese clean energy companies is their priority.

Next month's talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his American counterpart Barrack Obama are viewed as a vital event in restoring stability in their trade ties.

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