Global race for ‘rare earths’, Korea making little headway

Global tension over rare earth metals — often identified as rare earths — has intensified as the United States, European Union and Japan recently teamed up and took it up a notch in pressuring China over persistent trade disputes.

Last month, the trading power players filed a complaint at the World Trade Organization challenging the world’s largest rare earths supplier to remove its export restrictions on the scarce elements used in high-tech goods.

As China continues to tighten its export policy, Korea, a resource-poor country with strong demand for rare earth metals for its high-tech manufacturing, is attempting to stay the course with its biggest trading partner while at the same time, catching up with other nations in the search for alternative reserves.

Korea has been slow in securing the resources, since it’s been importing semi-processed materials rather than raw supplies. Currently, 80 percent of the imports come from China, and the rest from France and Japan.

For full article see Korea Times.