Japan Urges China to Boost REE Exports


"REE prices have soared >20% since China's export announcement in July."

Japan is urging China to expand, not restrict, its exports of rare earth minerals essential for the production of many electronics and hybrid cars, officials said Friday.

China, which accounts for 97% of global rare earths production, has announced it will cut its export ceiling to 8,000 tons in the second half of this year, about 70% down from the same period last year.

Rare earths are used in making parts for computers, mobile phones and low-carbon emission autos, in which Japan has emerged as a pioneer.

China's export limit for the minerals this year totals about 30,000 tons, down from 50,000 tons last year, says Japan's trade ministry.

Market prices of REEs have soared, by more than 20% for some types, since China's announcement in July; and Wednesday Japan expressed concern to China about the trend, a trade ministry official said.

"Even though a few other countries such as the United States have rare earth reserves, China became the single-largest producer of rare earths by selling at cheaper prices than others," said the official.

"But the prices have shot up since the Chinese announcement."

Yosuke Kondo, a lower house member and ministerial aide at the trade ministry, had visited Beijing and expressed concern over the rising price, the official said.

Japan is expected to make a similar request in a meeting of Japanese and Chinese economy ministers planned for next week in Beijing.

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