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US monitoring in case of China rare earth cuts: White House
Published on: 2010-10-27
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WASHINGTON — The United States said Tuesday it was checking to see if China was cutting off rare earths exports to US companies but had not reached a conclusion on the matter yet.

"We're monitoring to see whether or not what is happening on the ground is reflected in those reports," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. "I don't think there's any update past some of those reports from last week."

China last week denied a report in The New York Times that it had halted some rare earth shipments to the United States in response to a US probe into alleged Chinese subsidies for its green technology sector.

Rare earths -- a group of 17 elements -- are used in high-tech products ranging from flat-screen televisions to lasers to hybrid cars, and China controls more than 95 percent of the global market.

China has cut rare earth exports by five to 10 percent a year since 2006 as demand and prices soar.

Tokyo has accused China of restricting rare earths shipments to Japanese firms, amid a bitter spat between Asia's top two economies sparked by a maritime incident in disputed waters six weeks ago.

Beijing has previously denied any embargo, but a Japanese trade ministry survey released this month found that all 31 Japanese companies handling rare earths had reported disruption to shipments.

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