Although the World Trade Organization announced it had set up a panel to probe the rare-earth export policies in China, the country continues to protect the valuable minerals.
“In any case, the Chinese government will surely provide reasonable protection for rare earth resources and ensure environmental protection and sustainable development while making use of the resources,” said Zhu Hongren, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Following requests by the U.S., European Union and Japan made in March, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body took the decision to probe China’s export duties, quotas and other restrictions on rare earths, and two other minor metals, molybdenum and tungsten.
Zhu added that the regulation on rare earths’ exports and production are aimed at protecting the environment by being destroyed by reckless exploitation. China supplies more than 90% of the global demand of rare earths which are vital for the production of many high-tech products, such as wind turbines, cell phones, missiles and electric car batteries.
“Some countries with rich rare earth resources have not mined their own land for environment protection or other reasons, but made groundless accusations against China and repeatedly ignored the widely-known pollution caused by rare earth exploitation in the country,” Zhu claimed.