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China in the dock over rare earth minerals

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China in the dock over rare earth minerals

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Europe, the United States and Japan have joined forces against China’s restrictions of rare earth mineral exports.

The materials are critical to production of high technology and clean energy goods and the trio say Beijing is unfairly blocking access to its supplies.

“Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening. And they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow,” US President Barack Obama said at the White House.

China accounts for around 97 per cent of world output of rare earth metals and it says curbs are necessary to control problems caused by mining.

But the EU says the restrictions violate international trade rules and must be removed.