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China creates rare earths trade association


China has set up a rare earths industry group to regulate the sector and co-ordinate action in trade disputes.

The China Rare Earths Industry Assn was established on April 8 by the ministry of industry and information technology.

More than 155 companies are members of the association, which will work with the government to steer policy in a market that has taken on international significance.

The USA has filed a case at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) complaining that China’s restrictions on rare earths exports violate WTO rules.

The association will smooth international communication and aid “proper” handling of trade disputes according to international standards and WTO rules, Gan Yong, chairman of the association, told news agency Xinhua.

Gan is also chairman of the China Society for Rare Earths.

The fact that the association reports directly to the ministry rather than the China Nonferrous Metals Assn is a sign that the government wants to take firm control of the industry, market participants said.

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