China and Rare Earth Elements: China’s new Five-Year Program will fail to bring any rapid change in export quotas for rare earth elements (REE), Chinese Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Sun Zhenyu said, Reuters reported. He also said China’s REE reserves were depleting quickly and that Beijing must conserve them. According to Sun, China’s reserves have fallen from 33 percent of the world’s total in 1996 to 30 percent presently, and that they will last only for another 15-20 years. He urged other nations to begin developing their own REE reserves.
China-Japan: Japan’s stockpile of rare earth elements (REE), if China does not restart REE exporting, could empty by March or April 2011, said Yoshikatsu Nakayama, Japanese vice-minister of the economy, trade and industry, Agence France-Presse reported on 21 October.
China-Germany: German companies have been told by Chinese officials to increase their investments in China if they wish to continue to receive rare earth elements (REE) and two other elements China mines, tungsten and antimony, The New York Times reported on 21 October, citing a spokeswoman for the German engineering federation.
On 21 October, unidentified German industry officials said that Chinese customs officials were for the fourth day blocking the final paperwork approval necessary for REE to be exported to Germany. The officials said China is still exporting REE that had paperwork approved before 18 October.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The Chinese appear to be using rare earth elements exports for testing economic pressure tactics against potential rivals or adversaries. Rare earth elements are used in many high technology applications.
Phi Beta Iota: This is what happens when government becomes irresponsible, divorced from reality, without a strategic analytic model, and so ideologically insane as to make a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs the National Security Advisor. This all started in the 1970’s, it is not new, but now it is close to a fatal sucking chest wound for the Republic.