Rare Earth Minerals
March 13, 2012 by staff
Rare Earth Minerals, US President Barack Obama Tuesday accused China of breaking global trade rules by restricting exports of rare earth elements used in an array of hi-tech products from iPods to wind turbines.
“If China would simply let the market work on its own we would have no objections, but their policies currently are preventing that from happening and they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments came after the United States, European Union and Japan teamed up Tuesday to file a new World Trade Organization case against China’s controls of the export of the rare earth materials.
His decision to publicly upbraid China from the White House Rose Garden may reflect the intense political heat he is facing on China trade issues as his reelection campaign unfolds against a fragile economic recovery.
China said Tuesday that it would “properly deal” with a complaint by the United States, European Union and Japan over rare earth minerals, but defended its right to restrict exports of the elements.
The three economic powers lodged the complaint with the World Trade Organization alleging China — which produces 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths such as lutetium and scandium — was unfairly benefiting its own industries by monopolising global supply.
China’s Ministry of Commerce confirmed in a statement on its website that it had received the request for dispute settlement and had already informed other countries of its export policy, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China has “emphasised repeatedly that the policy aims to protect resources and the environment, and realise sustainable development,” the statement said, adding Beijing had no intention of protecting domestic industries by distorting its foreign trade.
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