China has announced a new industry group of rare earths producers aimed at controlling production and coordinating the industry's response to international disputes.
In an effort to control production of rare earths and to coordinate a response on international disputes over the minerals, China has created an industry group led by the largest state-run metals companies, state media said Monday.
The China Rare Earths Industry Association was created with 155 members, and according to the official Xinhua news agency, the association will support government efforts to "maintain order in the sector."
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology also said the group would "seek to form a reasonable price mechanism."
Rare earths are a collection of 17 elements that are used in many consumer devices, such as mobile phones, tablet PCs, and electric cars.
China accounts for more than 95 percent of the world's production of rare earths.
Last month, the European Union, the United States and Japan asked the World Trade Orgnization to settle a dispute with China over its restrictions on rare earths exports, alleging this provided an unfair advantage to domestic industries. China's trade partners also complain that Beijing drives up the prices of rare earths and forces foreign countries to relocate to the country for access to the minerals.
China has said industry controls were aimed at protecting the environment and rationalizing the industry after decades of overexploitation and low-priced exports.
mz/pfd (AP, AFP, dpa)