G20 Urged to Ensure REE Supply


"Further trade disputes cannot be in the interest of all G20 nations."

Business groups from around the world have urged leaders at this week's G20 summit to ensure the supply of rare earth elements (REE) amid concerns that trade disputes could harm access to the key commodities.

The call comes after China, which controls more than 95% of the global market in rare earths, froze exports to Japan in September amid a diplomatic row and reportedly also slowed shipments to other countries.

"All G20 leaders should work together to find pragmatic and sustainable short-term solutions for a stable and secure rare earth supply," the coalition of groups said in a statement.

"Further trade disputes cannot be in the interest of all G20 nations," said the joint statement by 37 groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Japan's Nippon Keidanren grouping of big corporations, as well as federations from Germany and South Korea.

The grouping urged members of the G20 to "refrain from export taxes, quotas and other market-distorting measures on REEs that restrict global supply and unnecessarily contribute to price volatility."

It also urged the rich and developing nations meeting in Seoul to "renounce interference with commercial sale of REEs, domestically or internationally, to advance industrial policy or political objectives."

China froze all REE exports to Japan in late September amid a tense row over Tokyo's arrest of a Chinese boat captain in disputed waters in the East China Sea earlier that month.

Beijing has repeatedly denied it has cut off exports of the crucial minerals and said it would not use its near-global monopoly on the rare earths trade as a "bargaining tool."

It warned of "a substantial and growing risk. . .that without adequate supply and open access to such elements, global efforts to address climate change, promote innovation and advance global growth will be significantly hindered."

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