Beijing issued its first white paper on the rare earth metals industry, pledging to restructure the sector but not remove export restrictions on the minerals, The Wall Street Journal reported. The paper reiterated previous government calls for more oversight in the production process of rare-earth minerals – including mining, sorting, and processing – as well as tougher standards and regulations to punish rule-breakers. However, the paper seems unlikely to appease the US, EU and Japan, which filed a complaint against China at the WTO in March. China, which produces about 95% of the world’s rare earth metal supply, uses a quota system to restrict exports of the minerals. Chinese officials insist they are fully compliant with WTO rules and that the quotas are designed to limit environmental damage caused by rare earth mining and processing.
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