2014-06-19 11:14Global TimesWeb Editor: Qin Dexing
Smartphones, tablet computers and many other high-technology products all rely on rare-earth elements. At present, some 85 percent of the world’s rare-earth supplies come from China. Western economies such as Europe and the US have therefore joined forces to break China’s dominationover these resources.
The World Trade Organization ruled in April that China violated relegations by restricting rare-earth exports, saying that such practices favored Chinese companies. On the heels of this decision, China sharply increased taxes on rare earths, a countermove aimed against a world trade community dominated by the US and Japan.
In the past, the US and Russia refrained from mining rare earths in their own countries due to concerns about environmental degradation. Things have changed rapidly over recent years though. In 2013, some 12,000 tons of rare earths were extracted from US mines, 7 times more than in 2011.
Many analysts believe that the rare-earth battle between China and the West will carry on. China will not cede its position in the market even though other countries are now snooping around for alternative supply sources.