Hundreds of business and government delegates from around the world gathered at a rare earth minerals conference in Beijing on Thursday. Some are questioning the Chinese regime's motives in restricting exports of the minerals. They are saying the move is aimed at giving domestic Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage over those overseas.
Foreign governments and businesses are accusing the Chinese regime of monopolizing rare earth minerals. The regime cut exports that would drive up global prices of the minerals, making it harder for manufacturers to operate outside of China.
China has about 95 percent of the world's supply of rare earth minerals—a group of about 17 elements used in everything from aerospace components to batteries, hybrid cars, wind turbines and smart phones.
Export quotas have fallen 40 percent in two years, with the regime naming resource depletion and environmental degradation for the decision. It has left rare earth consumers, particularly Japan, scrambling for other supply sources.
Business and government delegates from more than a dozen countries attended a rare earth minerals conference in Beijing on Thursday where an executive commented on what he believes are the Chinese regime's motives.
[Michael Silver, Chief Executive Officer of American Elements]: "What they are doing is requesting the people literally make their end-use products in China and they are requesting companies that want to come to China to actually transfer valuable technologies to other Chinese companies so the other Chinese producers can benefit from that knowledge, particularly in selected industries such as the green technology industries, solar energy and the auto industry."
European Union officials have accused the Chinese regime of double standards for complaining about the stronghold that major iron ore suppliers—Rio Tinto, BHP and Vale—have over the sector.
The European Union, United States and Japan are joining forces to find other sources of the rare earth minerals, as well as substitutes.
In July, the World Trade Organization dismissed the Chinese regime's claim that export duties and quotas on raw minerals had the effect of protecting its scarce resources and environment.