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WTO Action Will Not Solve Rare Earths Supply Woes: Pro
CNBC.com | March 14, 2012 | 03:17 AM EDT

A day after the United States, the European Union and Japan filed a joint complaint to the World Trade Organization against China’s export restrictions on strategic rare earth metals, the President of exploration firm U.S. Rare Earths tells CNBC that the trade case will not help solve current supply issues.

China is the largest rare earths producer, supplying over 95 percent of the world’s needs, but it has been trying to curb exports via quotas since 2010, resulting in tensions with its trade partners.

“U.S. and other industrialized democracies have actually handed China the monopoly…I think if rare earths access is the problem, I’m not sure that a WTO case is really the solution,” Dan McGroarty, President of U.S. Rare Earths, said Wednesday.

He adds that “The better way than trying to sue China…would be to develop our own [assets] in the U.S. and other Western countries, and try to even up the supply situation.”

China’s cheap production of the 17 rare earth metals saw output outside the country slump from around 60 per cent of global production to virtually nothing between 1995 and 2010, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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