China eases export controls on rare earths after losing WTO case brought by Washington

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

China has eased controls on exports of rare earths, minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products, after losing a World Trade Organization case brought by Washington.

Under the Ministry of Commerce's trade guidelines for 2015, rare earths will no longer be covered by export quotas. Beijing imposed those quotas in 2009 while it tried to develop its own industry that transforms the minerals into lightweight magnets and other products.

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In August, a WTO panel upheld a ruling in a case brought by Washington that Beijing had failed to show the export quotas were justified.

China has about 30 percent of the world's deposits of rare earths but accounts for more than 90 percent of production.