Japan, the United States and the European Union
agreed Wednesday to forge technological cooperation in
overcoming the difficulties in procuring rare earth elements due to
Chinese export restrictions.
At a meeting in Tokyo held to discuss the recycling of rare earth elements and the development of alternative resources, Japanese industry minister Yukio Edano noted that rare earth minerals are currently indispensable for producing high-tech products.
"With technological cooperation among Japan, the United States and the European Union, we can build a supply chain not relying solely on resources from a specific country," he said, alluding to China, which accounts for about 90 percent of rare earth production in the world.
While U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu cited the development of magnets that would use a small amount of rare earth elements, an E.U. official said rare earth elements could be procured not just from China but also from other regions like Africa.
Japan, the United States and the European Union have taken a case against China to the World Trade Organization over its export restrictions on rare earths.
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