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Japan joins EU and USA in raising concerns over Chinese Muscle Flexing of its Monopoly on Rare Earth Minerals

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Japan is the latest country to raise concerns over the Chinese Monopoly over Rare Earth Minerals.These 17 Minerals are essential for High Technology and Green Industries of the Future and China has a control over 97% of the global deposits of these minerals.The EU had recently warned over the adverse effect over the shortage of these rare minerals while USA is contemplating taking China to the WTO over the same matter.China has defended its action saying that mining of these minerals leads to environmental degradation has reduced the export quota drastically by 72% in the 2nd half of 2010 compared to the First Half.Japanese automakers like Honda,Toyota and Nissan have big plans in the Green Vehicle Sector which uses big amounts of these minerals imported from the mainland.However China’s cracking down over illegal exports and tightening control over these rare minerals has sent down tremors in Japan.

Note China wants to become a leader in the next generation of Green Technology and is heavily  subsidising domestic automakers.It has plans over creating national champions in the EV and Hybrid Vehicles and control over these minerals will give it a huge leg up.Already Honda and Coda are looking towards Chinese Battery Technology and  Chinese carmakers have made  big investments in the EV field.Forcing foreign carmaker to relocate to China to access these rare minerals will be a big win for China as it will give provide technology transfer opportunities.Note China has a policy of giving preferential treatment to Technology Leaders in the Green Energy field.

China Backs Rare Earth Controls as Environmental Step – Businessweek

China defended its controls on exports of rare earth after Japanese officials raised concerns about supplies of the raw materials used in the manufacture of products from cell phones to radar.Restrictions on the rare earth industry will help protect the environment, the state-run Xinhua News Agency cited Chen Deming, China’s commerce minister, as saying yesterday at a media briefing during China-Japan economic talks in Beijing.

China cut its export quotas for rare earth by 72 percent for the second half of this year, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce on July 8. Shipments will be capped at 7,976 metric tons, down from 28,417 tons for the same period a year ago.Japanese officials told their counterparts that the lower quotas could have a major affect on global industry, and demanded early action on easing them, said Satoru Sato, press secretary for visiting Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada. Japan urged China to make ample supplies of rare earths available, Nikkei English News reported earlier today.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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