China Is Said to Resume Shipping Rare Earth Minerals

The New York Times has the latest in the saga of China’s rare earth exports:

The Chinese government abruptly ended on Thursday its unannounced embargo of exports of crucial strategic minerals to the United States, Europe and Japan, although shipments to Japan still encountered some difficulties, four rare earth industry officials said.

After blocking shipments of raw rare earth minerals to Japan since Sept. 21, and to the United States and Europe since Oct. 18, Chinese customs officials, without explanation, allowed shipments to resume to all three destinations, said industry officials who insisted on anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue. Resumed shipments to Japan still face additional scrutiny and some delays.

The decision came a day and a half after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced plans to visit China on Saturday. She met on Wednesday in Honolulu with Japan’s foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, and said afterward that the suspension of shipments had been a “wake-up call” and that both countries would have to find alternative suppliers.

See also “China vows not to use rare earths as leverage” from Reuters, and “Chinese Rare Earths: Less Muscle, More Growth” from the Wall Street Journal blog. Read more about China’s rare earth elements via CDT>

October 28, 2010 12:49 PM
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