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Rivals teaming up for dig at China’s rare earths dominance

(ATF) The US, Japan, India and Australia are joining forces in an effort to combat China’s dominance of the rare earths supply chain.

The members of the ‘Quad Security Dialogue’ mechanism are set to jointly establish a rare earth procurement chain, according to Japan’s Nikkei Asia. The plans were expected to be finalised at a video summit on Thursday.

The four countries will focus on the research and development of low-cost, low-emission radioactive waste refining technologies, and plan to allow government-owned financial institutions to provide loans to enterprises in related industries – and plan to get on the front foot in drafting relevant international rules.

Read more: China to ramp up reform of SOEs, energy and rail sectors

The US government is already supporting a proposal to process Australian ore in the US, and Japan is considering whether to join the plan, according to the report.

China’s rare earth production accounts for almost 60% of the world’s total, the United States accounts for 16%, while Australia and India account for 7% and 1% respectively.

The White House said that Biden’s participation in the video summit and “four-party security dialogue” shows that he “values US allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region”.


Back in November 2019, Geng Shuang, then the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded to a question about “Western countries worried about China’s monopoly of the rare earth market” by saying we are living in an era of globalisation and the global industrial chain is closely connected and interlocked.

He claimed it was not feasible for one country to dominate or monopolise a certain field or market, or artificially cut or exclude a certain link of the chain. 

He said: “We are willing to use rare earth resources and products to meet the legitimate needs of the development of all countries in the world, and play an active role in promoting the development of the Chinese economy and the world economy.”

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Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.


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