The Chinese government announced Monday the creation of an association of producers of rare earths, while being criticized by its trading partners for export restrictions of these essential minerals in high technology.
The USA, EU and Japan have complained to the World Trade Organization last month, arguing that the Chinese industry sector sought to use its position of near monopoly.
China alone extracted more than 95% of rare earth on the planet.This is a group of 17 minerals possessing chemical and electromagnetic relatives, among others used to make computers, monitors, audio equipment, cameras and cameras, automotive parts, batteries or bulbs.
The Association of China Rare Earth Industry, composed of 155 members, was set up Sunday in Beijing, said in a statement the Minister of Industry and Information Technology.
The aim of the association is to promote a “healthy development” sector, according to the Chinese Vice Minister of Industry, Su Bo, to put order in the industry and strengthen environmental protection.
China seeks to increase profits by developing rare earth processing industries of these minerals. The government also wants to encourage the formation of large groups in the area, and has already closed facilities several small producers.
The association, which counts among its members giants like China Minmetals or aluminum producer Chalco, was also responsible for resolving trade disputes with foreign countries, reported without details the New China News Agency.
The head of the association, Gan Yong, announced the establishment of a mechanism “reasonable” price regulation, has yet official news agency reported.
Trading partners have accused China of trying to raise prices and force foreign enterprises to relocate to China to gain access to rare earths.
Chinese export quotas were set at about 30,000 tons for 2012, roughly the same level as in 2011.
To put in perspective the chinese domination in the rare earths field, the BBC created this very instructive video: