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Posted Wed Dec 29 2010: from CBC:
China cuts 'rare earth' quota 11 percent
China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 per cent -- likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products. China accounts for 97 per cent of the global production of rare earth minerals, which are essential to devices as varied as cellphones, computer drives and hybrid cars. Countries were alarmed when Beijing blocked shipments of the minerals to Japan earlier this year amid a debate over disputed islands.... The United States last week threatened to go to the World Trade Organization with its concerns over China and rare earths. When asked for comment during a regular press briefing Tuesday, China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu declined to answer. But China has had to address the global concerns numerous times since the spat with Japan. "China is not using rare earth as a bargaining chip," Wen Jiabao, China's top economic official, told a China-European Union business summit in Brussels in October.
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