China rare earth exports up 14.5 pct
      Author:Network     Source: http://www.macaudailytimes.com.mo     Release Time:1/19/2011 10:24:07 AM     View Times:10376

China said yesterday its rare earth exports rose 14.5 percent in the first 11 months of last year as prices more than doubled, with most of the shipments going to Japan, Europe and the United States.
Exports of the minerals – 17 elements vital to everything from iPods to wind turbines – hit 35,000 tonnes for the January-November period, the commerce ministry said, exceeding Beijing’s full-year quota of 30,300 tonnes.
“China will continue to supply rare earths to the international markets and manage rare earth export quotas according to rules of the World Trade Organization,” spokesman Yao Jian told a regular briefing in Beijing.
Yao did not explain how exports exceeded the 2010 quota but it is possible that leftovers from the 2009 allotment were sold last year.
The value of the exports soared 171 percent from a year earlier as prices for the minerals jumped by around 130 percent, Yao told reporters.
Shipments to Japan, the European Union and the United States – who have been vocal critics of China’s rare earth export restrictions – made up 86 percent of total exports in the period, he added.
China, which produces more than 95 percent of the world’s rare earths, has tightened control over the elements by cutting quotas for overseas shipments and hiking export taxes.
Japanese industry said last year that Beijing temporarily cut off exports in the midst of a diplomatic row.
The moves have raised concern overseas that China was abusing its market dominance, with the United States calling on the country not to use rare earths as a “trade weapon”.
But Beijing has denied any political motivation over rare earths and has insisted the issue is an environmental one.
The commerce ministry said last month it had slashed rare earth export quotas by about 35 percent for the first six months of this year.
Yao said yesterday that the government was still considering the full-year quota and would announce its decision “in a timely manner”.

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