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Rare Earth Industry Association established in China

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The nation of China has established a rare earth industry association in order to speed up consolidation of its sprawling industry. Rare earth in China has drawn criticism for what overseas trade partners call unfair export quotas. The association, with 155 members across the country, will report to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates rare earth production.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Baotou Steel Rare Earth in Inner Mongolia, Rising Nonferrous in Guangdong and China Minmetals are among 13 heavyweight members, the Xinhua press agency reported.

Industry vice Minister Su Bo says that Beijing wanted to shake up the industry by phasing out small smelters, giving big players a greater stake in the supply of rare earth metals and boosting environmental protection.

"China will continue to clean up the rare earth industry, expand rare earth environmental controls, strengthen environmental checks, and implement stricter rare earth environmental policies," Su said.

The official news agency said that the long-awaited body would promote international exchanges and help Chinese companies to handle trade disputes. China's rare earth export quota is managed by China's Ministry of Commerce.

The European Union, the United States and Japan all complained to the World Trade Organization last month, saying that China is illegally choking off exports of rare earths to hold down prices for its domestic manufacturers and pressure international firms to move operations to China.

China accounts for about 97 percent of world output of the 17 rare earth metals crucial for the defense, electronics and renewable-energy industries. In addition, these metals are used in a range of products such as the iPhone, disk drives and wind turbines.

Beijing has said its export curbs are necessary to control environmental problems caused by rare earth mining and to preserve supplies of a limited natural resource.

The association consists of 155 members that include industry giants Aluminum Corporation of China and China Minmetals Corporation, was formed to promote sustainable and sound development in the sector.
 
Gan Yong, now an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and also president of the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, will be the president of the association.

Yong says the association will work to form a reasonable price mechanism and will work to create a win-win situation for developers and consumers through its coordination efforts.

China has announced production caps, stricter environmental standards and an export quota system for rare earth metals in recent years.

There have been increasing protests from several countries who claim that China is using the precious metals, which are used to manufacture an array of high-tech goods, as a political bargaining chip.

Asked about the recurring frictions, Gan said the newly found association will help deepen international communications and "properly" handle the trade disputes according to international standards and WTO rules.

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