China urges other nations to accept rare earths position

BEIJING (Reuters) - Countries that have come to depend on China for large amounts of rare earths metals should understand that Beijing has environmental concerns for curtailing exports, the Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Monday.

Chen also said that his government was willing to work with Japan -- the main consumer of rare earths used in electronics products -- to find substitutes for the metals.

China produces about 97 percent of the global supply of the minerals used in smartphones, electric car motors and high-tech industrial equipment, and Beijing cut export quotas by 40 percent last year, alarming buyers and trading partners.

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Editing by Ken Wills)