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Energy

Action Sought Against China’s Curb On Rare-Earth Exports

by Glenn Hess
February 13, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 7

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives is urging the White House to petition the World Trade Organization (WTO) to investigate China’s practice of limiting exports of rare-earth minerals. “China’s rare-earth policies defy global trade laws to create supply scarcity and price inflation in the global market while ensuring surplus and lower prices in domestic markets,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and nine other House members wrote in a Feb. 2 letter to President Barack Obama. China supplies about 95% of the world’s rare earths, which are used in everything from wind turbines, electric-car batteries, and smartphones to advanced weapons systems. Critics charge that the Chinese government is limiting production and restricting rare-earth exports in an attempt to drive up prices. “This unjust manipulation of the global trade market compels companies to relocate to China, bringing jobs, capital, and intellectual property with them,” the lawmakers wrote. “The U.S. must respond vigorously.”

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