China’s move to place limits on the extraction and export of rare earth materials is based on concerns about environmental protection and national security, state media reported, citing commerce minister Chen Deming. "Rare earths exist in land where environment is very fragile, so a large amount of extraction hurts China’s natural environment. Thus we had to impose limits on production and trade of rare earths," Chen said. He said Beijing’s actions were not contrary to the rules of the World Trade Organization. Chen said China will incrementally reduce the production and exports of rare earth metals. Beijing announced in June that only select state-owned enterprises will be permitted to mine rare earths.
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