China lifted export quotas on rare earths

According to the trade guidelines for 2015 published at the end of December 2014, China’s Ministry of Commerce has abolished export quotas for rare earths, as well as fluorspar, molybdenum and tungsten; products used in high-tech products like smartphones. As the owner of 1/3 of rare earths’ world resources and the producer of more than 90 percent of it, the move was widely expected after China had drawn international complaints following its unilateral decision to increase prices and impose these quotas in 2010 on the assumption that environmental costs largely surpassed the profits from exports. An unfavorable WTO ruling in March 2014 that was brought by the USA, the EU and Japan said China had failed to justify such quotas. However rare earths’ export will still require an export license but without restriction on the amount that can be sent abroad.