China rare earth association to maintain order
China's rare earth industry set up an association over the weekend which it says is aimed at spurring healthy development in the sector, according to Xinhua.
The association, consisting of 155 members that include industry giants Aluminum Corporation of China and China Minmetals Corporation, was formed to promote sustainable and sound development in the sector, said Su Bo, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) which governs the association.
The association said it will actively provide support and services for relevant departments and local governments, help maintain order in the sector, facilitate exchange and cooperation between enterprises to spur innovation, and coordinate efforts to cope with international trade frictions and disputes.
Production caps, stricter environmental standards and an export quota system for rare earth metals imposed by China have attracted protests from several countries which claim that China is using the precious metals as a political bargaining chip.
In the latest dispute, the European Union, United States and Japan formally last month asked the WTO to settle a dispute with China over restrictions placed on exports of raw materials including rare earth elements.
While China supplies more than 90 percent of rare earth products on the global market, its reserves only account for about one-third of the world's total and the country has said it is unwarranted for the foreign markets to rely on it to provide all the supplies.