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China Accused Yet Again of Sharp Trading Practice

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China Accused Yet Again of Sharp Trading Practice

Post  Panda on Mon 9 Apr - 6:38

9 April 2012 Last updated at 04:21 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page



China has set up a rare earth association in a bid to streamline the sector's development, as it continues to face criticism over its policies.

Beijing has imposed quotas on exports of rare earth elements, a move which its critics say has pushed up prices.

Last month, the US, Japan and the European Union filed a case at the World Trade Organization, challenging China's restrictions.

China produces more than 95% of the world's rare earth elements.

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Start Quote
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”
End Quote
Su Bo

Ministry of Industry and Technology

These elements are critical components in the manufacture of various high-tech products, including DVDs, mobile phones, flatscreen TVs and hybrid batteries.

China's trading partners have alleged that Beijing has been trying to utilise its position as the world's biggest producer of rare earths to benefit domestic manufacturers.

They have argued that by limiting exports, Beijing has kept prices low for domestic buyers, while international firms have had to pay more.

It's also claimed that Beijing was trying to put pressure on international manufacturers to move to China.

The state new agency Xinhua said the new association was likely to help with efforts to cope with international trade frictions and disputes.

'Clean up'

China has denied these allegations and said that it imposed the restrictions to ensure that excessive mining of these elements did not cause environmental damage.

Su Bo, an industry vice minister, said Beijing is looking to further tighten its policies for the sector.

"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 was quoted as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

According to Xinhua, the association will have 155 members, including some of the biggest producers of rare earths, and report to the Ministry of Industry and Technology which regulates production of these elements.

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Re: China Accused Yet Again of Sharp Trading Practice

Post  Panda on Mon 9 Apr - 9:49




13 March 2012 Last updated at 19:06 Share this pageEmail Print Share this page

Malaysia protest over rare earths

"Rare earths" are a group of 17 chemically similar elements crucial to the manufacture of many hi-tech products. Despite their name, most are abundant in nature but are hazardous to extract. Most "rare earth" elements have uses in several different fields, as well as those listed below.

Neodymium

This is used to make powerful magnets used in loudspeakers and computer hard drives to enable them to be smaller and more efficient. Magnets containing neodymium are also used in green technologies such as the manufacture of wind turbines and hybrid cars.

Lanthanum

This element is used in camera and telescope lenses. Compounds containing lanthanum are used extensively in carbon lighting applications, such as studio lighting and cinema projection.

Cerium

Used in catalytic converters in cars, enabling them to run at high temperatures and playing a crucial role in the chemical reactions in the converter. Lanthanum and cerium are also used in the process of refining crude oil.

Yttrium is used in the process of generating colour displays on devices such as television screens
Praseodymium

Used to create strong metals for use in aircraft engines. Praseodymium is also a component of a special sort of glass, used to make visors to protect welders and glassmakers.

Gadolinium
Used in X-ray and MRI scanning systems, and also in television screens. Research is also being done into its possible use in developing more efficient refrigeration systems.

Yttrium, terbium, europium

Important in making televisions and computer screens and other devices that have visual displays as they are used in making materials that give off different colours. Europium is also used in making control rods in nuclear reactors.

Source: British Geological Survey, Royal Society of Chemistry

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