China unveils quotas for high-tech material exports

Filed under: Daily News |

China has announced next year’s export quotas for its rare earth metals, elements widely used to manufacture electronic devices.

The Commerce Ministry said Tuesday exporters will be allowed to sell 10,546 tons of rare earth metals in the first half of 2012. That amount will be split among 11 companies.

The ministry said Chinese exports of rare earths totaled 14,750 tons for the first 11 months of 2011. It gave no figure for the full-year in 2011.

China’s export restrictions have strained relations with the United States, the European Union, Japan and governments that have called on Beijing to remove its curbs and make its intentions clear.

Despite production and export restraints, rare earth metals prices have tumbled as U.S. and European economic troubles stifled demand.

Rare earths are 17 chemical elements including cerium, dysprosium and lanthanum that are used to manufacture flat-screen televisions, batteries for electric cars and wind turbines. They are also used in some high-tech weapons systems.