China Sets Up Rare Earth Industry Association image

China decided to make a rare earths industry association to face trade complaints and help bring back the sector that is critical to global high-tech manufacturing.

The group founding was announced on Sunday, April 8th, by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Its purpose is to coordinate mining, smelting and processing and seek to form a “reasonable price mechanism” for the materials, used in many high-tech applications. The group will have 155 members, including some of the biggest producers of rare earths.

China produces more than 95% of the world’s rare earth elements, which are used to manufacture different high-tech products, including DVDs, mobile phones, flatscreen TVs and hybrid batteries. China was accused by its trading partners who say that Beijing has been trying to utilize its position as the world’s biggest producer of rare earths to benefit domestic manufacturers and to convince international manufacturers to move to China.

China denied the accusations and said that it was only trying to ensure that excessive mining of these elements did not cause environmental damage.

“China will continue to clean up the rare earth industry, expand rare earth environmental controls, strengthen environmental checks, and implement stricter rare earth environmental policies,” declared SU Bo, an industry vice minister.