China Said to Widen Its Embargo of Minerals to the United States

October 20, 2010

Doesn’t seem like Obama has impressed the Chinese at all when he bowed to the Japanese Emperor to show he doesn’t only bow to the Saudis.  Another sign of the worst foreign policy in history.  Show weakness… and China does this to you.   China is going to have us by the balls with this if we leave Afghanistan like we did in Iraq. these minerals just showed up in our war zone a few months ago… so what appeared to be just about of goat lovers and rocks is the future of green tech if we let Afghanistan go the way of Bolivia…

The signals of a tougher Chinese trade stance come after American trade officials announced on Friday that they would investigate whether China was violating World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing its clean energy exports and limiting clean energy imports. The inquiry includes whether China’s steady reductions in rare earth export quotas since 2005, along with steep export taxes on rare earths, are illegal attempts to force multinational companies to produce more of their high-technology goods in China.

REE, used in fiber-optic telecom cables, military gear, computers and other technologies, aren’t actually as uncommon as the name implies. Some of them are about as abundant as industrial metals like nickel, copper, zinc and lead. For comparison, the two least abundant REE (thulium and lutetium) are almost 200 times more common than gold. But the problem is it’s rare for these metals to become concentrated in deposits that are easy to tap, and as a result, most of the world’s supply comes from just a few sites.

China, which has been blocking shipments of crucial minerals to Japan for the last month, has now quietly halted shipments of those materials to the United States and Europe, three industry officials said on Tuesday.