News / Asia

Three Questions: China Denies Reduction of Export Quotas of Rare Earths

Rare earth oxides from top center clockwise: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium
Rare earth oxides from top center clockwise: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium

China says reports that it has reduced quotas of rare earth exports by 30 percent "false and groundless."  A Ministry of Commerce official told the official Xinhua news agency that "China will continue to supply rare earths to the world." The original report of the quota reduction appeared in the Beijing based China Daily newspaper.

Rare earth materials are necessary for the production of evolving technologies, like wind turbines, batteries for electric cars, iPods, cell phones, computer hard drives and many high tech weapons used by the US military.

Jack Lifton is the co-founder and director of Technology Metals Research and an independent consultant and commentator focusing on the future end use trends of rare earth material. He says the problem for many nations, especially Japan, is that China is the only country in the world that mines these rare earth materials.

Is it true that the Chinese have made no secret of their intentions on exporting rare earths?

The Chinese have been telling us for the last two decades that they do not wish to be a rare earths exporter indefinitely.  And since at least the beginning of the 21st century, ten years ago, the Chinese has been each year reducing their export of rare earths as raw materials which others can add value to and make finished goods.  Because China's stated goal - it has never been a secret - is to create as many jobs in China as possible and add as much value in China as possible to everything they are involved with. In the cases where they are the rare earths producers, they would like to add as much Chinese labor and technology as possible, so that these things wind up as components of finished goods where they make the most money possible, therefore they have employed as many people as possible in the transformation of these raw materials to finished goods. That is what this is all about.
The largest importer of these rare earth materials is Japan which has been basically battling with China over this value-added issue for a decade now. Japan does not wish to give its industrial technology of manufacturing high tech magnets or batteries to China.

What would Japan do?


Japan does not produce any rare earths.  In fact, nobody today in the world does essentially except China. So the Japanese at the moment have six projects going around the world to develop rare earths mines, the outputs of which and the concentrates from which will be sent to Japan for processing. There is also a mine well under development in Australia by an Australia-owned company and there is one in California by an America-owned company.  The problem of all of these is that we will have at least two years before any of these companies can produce a product that the Japanese can process into an end product they can use. So the Chinese have leverage now for two more years, and they dominate this area. The idea of having a law case or a discussion in the U.S. Congress is just foolishness. The Chinese have the upper hand here. And I think the Wall Street Journal the other day was absolutely right - the way to resolve this is to resolve with the Chinese, in the short term. In the long term, we will have other production around the world and this crisis will go away.

How do you theorize that it should be solved with the Chinese?

 

I actually do not know, but I don't think the Chinese are not going to give in on this. The problem we are going to have is that while those products are made in Japan using Chinese raw materials, we may have a problem because the Japanese have a problem. I don't know what the outcome is going to be. This is something that we anticipated a decade ago, I have been talking about this for over 10 years about what we are going to do. "Oh, they (the Chinese) will never learn how to do this stuff, and they will always need us to process that stuff." All of that is no longer true.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid