This week news came that “the World Trade Organization has finally agreed to investigate claims by the US, EU and Japan that China is unfairly strangling rare earth exports in order to favor its domestic manufacturing industry”.
Instead of trying to fulfill their own interests by pressuring China to lift the restrictions, leaders of these developed countries should go to villages like Jieyuan to see first-hand the human and environmental destruction their demand is causing.
According to China’s white paper on rare earth, released on June 20, the country meets more than 90 percent of the rare earth demand in the global market when it has only 23 percent of the world’s total reserves. It also supplies more than 70 percent of the world’s permanent-magnet, luminescents, and hydrogen-storage and polishing materials, which use rare earth as raw material.
Plus, China-produced rare earth materials, parts and components, as well as rare earth-end products such as energy-saving lamps, special and small electric motors and NiMH batteries satisfy the development needs of high-tech industries of other countries, especially the developed ones.
Developed countries are used to pointing the finger at China when it comes to environmental protection. But when China takes measures to protect the environment, they pressure it to lower its guard just to fulfill their vested interests. Instead of arm-twisting China into fulfilling their demand, they should support it to implement strict environmental measures, including strengthening regulations on the rare earth industry, if they really care about environmental protection.