News / Asia

US Voices Concern Over China's Rare Earth Cutbacks

A worker waters the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China 29 Dec 2010
A worker waters the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China 29 Dec 2010

U.S. officials say they are "very concerned" about China's decision to sharply reduce exports of rare earth minerals over the next six months, a move that is already driving up share prices for companies producing the crucial metals.

Japanese importers said Wednesday they are also watching the situation closely. The minerals are used in high-tech products ranging from computers to hybrid cars to missile guidance systems.

China, which provides 97 percent of the world's supply of rare earths, announced Tuesday it was cutting its export quota for the first half of 2011 to about 14,500 tons. The cut was initially reported as an 11 percent reduction, but following clarifications from the Chinese government, it is seen as a 35 percent cut from the year-earlier period.

In Washington, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said the United States is "very concerned about China's export restraints on rare earth materials." The spokeswoman said the United States has raised its concerns with China and is discussing the matter with other parties.

The United States said last week that it may complain to the World Trade Organization about China's limits on exports of the rare earths.

Japan's economic minister Akihiro Ohata was less concerned Wednesday, telling his country's Kyodo news service that the cuts were in line with expectations.

But a spokesman for Japan's Sony Corp., a leading manufacturer of electronic products, told Reuters news agency that further restrictions "could lead to a shortage of supply or rise in costs for related parts and materials."

The spokesman said Sony will "watch the situation carefully."

China has been gradually reducing export quotas for the minerals, including a 72 percent cut this year that caused a surge in prices. Officials say they are concerned about protecting the Chinese environment, but also face growing domestic demand for the metals as Chinese companies move into the field of high-tech manufacturing.

China's commerce ministry said late Tuesday that quota for the second half of the year is still under discussion and that it was not appropriate to assume the first-half quotas are representative of the full year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More