On Tuesday the United States will bring a trade case against China over the matter of rare earth materials. The Obama administration officials have said that they plan to ask the World Trade Organization to help facilitate talks with China over the exports of the rare materials.
Right now China has over 17 rare Earth materials that are needed in the development for new technologies such as car batteries, smartphones, weapons, camera lenses, and flat-screen televisions. The Obama administration is referring to this as unfair trading practices.
China has restricted its exports in the past couple of years. They have stated their reasons for doing so are to help with their own technological demands and environmental concerns.
China has 10 days under the WTO guidelines to make some sort of communication with the U.S. and the EU. After 60 days if an agreement has not been reached, the U.S. can ask the WTO to make a full investigation into China’s practices.
One of the concerns that was listed according to CNN is how these materials are needed in order to make “top-of-the-line weapons.” Another is that some of these materials, such as cerium, neodymium, and dysprosium, are needed in wind turbines that can make solar energy more affordable.