Photo: kevinpoh on flickr
Yesterday we reported that the EU, U.S. and Japan had asked the WTO to settle a dispute with China over its export restrictions on raw materials including rare earth oxides.Now China has fired back a response.
Xinhua, China’s state press agency said the rare earth export restrictions were ‘made out of consideration for the environment and the sustainable utilization of resources’.
The EU and its co-complainants had alleged that China was essentially hogging rare earths for its own future use, but Chinese officials have just turned the tables calling on other countries to step up their production of rare earths.
Here’s the entire report from Xinhua:
The rare earth export restrictions by China have been made out of consideration for the environment and the sustainable utilization of resources, rather than export protection — that’s according to Chinese officials responding to complaints made by the US, EU and Japan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin says China has made unremitting efforts in providing rare earth minerals to the international community.
Liu said: “China’s rare earth resources account for 36.4% of the overall reserves in the world. However, China provides more than 90 per cent of the global supply of rare earth minerals, and this situation is unsustainable. Therefore China has adopted some control measures. Despite the immense environmental pressures, China’s has not stopped exporting rare earths.”
Liu urged other countries possessing rare earth minerals to increase their resources and shoulder their due responsibilities.
Liu said: “We hope other countries holding rare earth resources can actively unlock their development of rare earths and shoulder the responsibility to provide rare earths to the international community, alongside China.”
China is preparing to defend itself should the US and other countries bring the rare earth case to the World Trade organisation.
China says that supplies of some rare earth metals would run out within 20 years, if it were to increase exports, and that such a move would come at the expense of the global environment and resources.
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