China Sets Up Rare Earth Cartel Amid WTO Investigation

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted April 12, 2012

Following a lawsuit with the WTO filed by the U.S., Europe, and Japan against China’s export restrictions and internal pricing and supply quota, China’s government set up a rare earths industry group.

Officials claim the merger seeks to promote international exchanges, handle trade disputes, and improve environmental protection regulations, while giving industry giants a bigger stake in supply.

Analysts argue that China’s rare earths consortium is a means for consolidating their position as an industry leader and protecting their precious deposits of not-so-rare earths.

While China has in essence monopolized the market by controlling roughly 95 percent of global production, rare earths are in fact not all that rare nor terribly difficult to mine.

Beijing’s newly-established 155-member cartel of rare earth industry leaders comes to fruition during a highly publicized international trade war over the country’s export laws. China insists its export barriers exist to regulate environmental damage caused by rare earth mining and to preserve supplies of the depletable resource.

Creating this industry group coalition has proved only to draw more attention to China’s near-monopolization of the rare earths sector.

Until next time,


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