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China Considering Cuts In Rare-Earth Metal Exports

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the thulium-and-thalium dept.

Government 456

SillySnake sends in a report from the Telegraph on draft plans in China to restrict exports of rare earths. "Beijing is drawing up plans to prohibit or restrict exports of rare earth metals that are produced only in China and play a vital role in cutting edge technology, from hybrid cars and catalytic converters, to superconductors, and precision-guided weapons. A draft report by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs."

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Woo-hoo - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364109)

Manufactured shortages, here we come!

Re:Woo-hoo - (1)

jgardia (985157) | about 5 years ago | (#29364259)

Yes, I won't be able to buy anymore the neodymium magnets to reduce the fuel consumption of my car...

Re:Woo-hoo - (3, Insightful)

BizzyM (996195) | about 5 years ago | (#29364795)

Makes perfect sense: we won't export "super computers" like the Playstation to China. China had to figure out what they have that we want and then squeeze it. With all the "green" technology relying on electric motors, we need those rare earth magnets. Bravo, China. Bravo.

Re:Woo-hoo - (4, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | about 5 years ago | (#29364849)

Do you really expect a country that at least used to charge families for the bullets used to execute family members to act in a humanitarian way?

Re:Woo-hoo - (3, Insightful)

BizzyM (996195) | about 5 years ago | (#29364927)

NO. I expect them to exact revenge.

Re:Woo-hoo - (2, Funny)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 5 years ago | (#29364861)

Someone is making magnates.

The new "oil" (4, Interesting)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about 5 years ago | (#29364121)

Just what the world economy needs. A single-country "cartel" that will cause prices to greatly rise. This should be interesting to watch.

I guess rare-earth metals are the new "oil".

Not a Great Analogy (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29364173)

Just what the world economy needs. A single-country "cartel" that will cause prices to greatly rise. This should be interesting to watch.

I guess rare-earth metals are the new "oil".

Some key points you may have missed from the article:

Mr Stephens said China had put global competitors out of business in the early 1990s by flooding the market, leading to the closure of the biggest US rare earth mine at Mountain Pass in California - now being revived by Molycorp Minerals.

So, if this goes through, we merely open the mine in California. I'll feel better about paying a higher price for something if it is created under tighter environmental regulations than what they have in China. Cheap labor and lack of an EPA and potential corrupted officials? Of course they can undercut California!

Secondly a rare metals dealer in Australia said

This isn't about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies.

So your analogy is lacking in many ways. We can refine the metals here and China needs them for their own growing demand.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (4, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | about 5 years ago | (#29364237)

On the other hand, cost drives innovation. As the article stated, it may take several years to bring the old rare-earth mines back into operation. In that time, we either pay more, or use our engineering degrees and come up with workarounds. I have a feeling that the latter may frequently be the case. For instance, if rare-earths are required to manufacture hard disk drives, SSDs (which I assume do not require these metals since they require no magnets) will probably become favorable.

China's move may affect regular people but I suspect not. This is probably more important to you if you're in manufacturing or trade.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (4, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | about 5 years ago | (#29364321)

Or alternatively we buy our hard drives from Chinese manufacturers, which I think is what they want to happen..

Re:Not a Great Analogy (4, Funny)

hany (3601) | about 5 years ago | (#29364833)

Or alternatively we buy our hard drives from Chinese manufacturers, which I think is what they want to happen..

... and "mine" those Chinese hard-drives for this rare materials to manufacture our own hard drives. :)

Re:Not a Great Analogy (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29364245)

Actually, that just makes it more like oil. When we were first denied oil, we immediately plunged into our own giant oil fields and sucked 'em dry. Now we have no choice but to rely on the Middle East. So, unless these rare-Earth metals are renewing themselves, in the future we'll probably run out before China does and then have to rely on them.

China could possibly have purely innocent reasons to do it...but...I just don't see any government anywhere doing anything that doesn't simultaneously help them and harm someone else. In this case, cutting off the rest of the world and just sitting on the metals could lead to another monopoly that we need if we want to continue our research.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (5, Insightful)

lambent (234167) | about 5 years ago | (#29364325)

Our oil fields are not dry. Our demand outstrips domestic production. It's just easier to buy refined oil from other countries. The bottleneck has been our craptacular refineries for some decades, now.

We have lots of choices of where to get oil, including the choice to stop using oil. It's just easier to pay someone else to do it for us.

I assume the same is true of these rare earth metals.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (2, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29364483)

Not dry, but not nearly enough to supply us. If we stopped importing oil and relied on just our remaining oil, we wouldn't even be able to power the country for a year.

Furthermore, we can't stop using oil until someone finds an alternative. Know why? Our public water, manufacturing, electricity, heating, transportation, food, shipping...you name it, you can trace oil back to it. We have the choice to stop using oil, but in doing so prematurely, we would be reduced to horse drawn carriages and made-by-hand stuff. If you pass a cursory glance at Congress, they're at best doing a half-assed attempt at fixing the oil problem, but it's not a priority to them.

So we'll probably end up in a similar situation with rare earth metals. With our own fields being opened up, the power of money will convince the users of these metals to make their product indispensable and integral to American life. Once demand goes way over American supply, we'll rely on China. Then we'll have the same discussion about whatever new quirky natural material America desires and thinks it can get on its own.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364533)

Actually the bottleneck has been the impossibility of bringing additional refining capacity online in the US. This is mostly about NIMBY syndrome, but also about regulatory hurdles. Just try starting a new refinery in the US: best of luck to you. If you do get a location that will allow it, you will find that you have no access to shipping (must rely only on a pipeline that you have to build and get right of ways for in order to get feedstock). In short, it can't be done without major losses.

Oil refining capacity (4, Insightful)

Paua Fritter (448250) | about 5 years ago | (#29364761)

Actually the bottleneck has been the impossibility of bringing additional refining capacity online in the US.

True. And actually this isn't just the case in the USA; there are virtually no new refineries anywhere in the world.

But actually the main hurdle isn't the NIMBY syndrome or over-regulation - it's a simple matter of return on investment. No-one wants to build a refinery because they take a long time to build, and a long time to recoup your investment, and the world's oil supply is known to be running out. Globally, oil-fields are now considered to be at peak production levels; that's to say, it's unlikely that there will ever be more oil being pumped than there is today. So building new refining capacity is a poor investment. Instead, people are just making do with what there is. That's why Iran is now importing refined petroleum from Venezuela.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364379)

So your analogy is lacking in many ways. We can refine the metals here and China needs them for their own growing demand.

To follow this argument through: because every country needs everything, it makes every country better off to ban export of everything. Then they can produce lots of useful goods by combining their now much bigger store of export-banned materials with the component parts they import from other countries.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (1)

EroticPotato (1633437) | about 5 years ago | (#29364443)

I agree.

Re:Not a Great Analogy (-1, Troll)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 years ago | (#29364767)

Saying "I agree" instead of "OMG ME 2" still leaves you a braindead AOLer.

Re:The new "oil" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364319)

This good policy yes. it mean work for me in metal cave less. smoke from cut have glow. i make ask for me change to rebok shoe work but hand only one finger now like red claw fish in sea.

Re:The new "oil" (1)

jmorkel (952809) | about 5 years ago | (#29364889)

A single-entity "cartel" is called a monopoly. Cartel implies collusion between multiple entities.

Update (4, Funny)

Dingadong (1321301) | about 5 years ago | (#29364127)

Terrorists found in Beijing and Shanghai, U.S. Troops invade.

Re:Update (3, Insightful)

Stu101 (1031686) | about 5 years ago | (#29364179)

Issue with that is that I think China, unlike Iraq, Iran and Saudi could stand up for themselves.

Don't forget they DO have WMD, massive military complexes and stolen US designs for highly deadly weapons.

Then there is the cyber angle. I suspect America could be pwned quite quick.

Lastly, who is gonna supply walley word with cheap tupperware and lawnmowers to the post nuke surviviors. There is no way that could happen.

China is the new economy. Western Europe is just on a downhill spiral.

 

Re:Update (2, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 5 years ago | (#29364211)

China doesn't really need WMDs or stolen designs to hold off an invasion. Conventional weapons combined with their sheer manpower would make it a suicidal proposal to attack them on their own turf. It's not exactly Iraq.

Re:Update (1, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 5 years ago | (#29364291)

Actually people completely underestimate this...

I always make the argument, what if China decided one day to the next that 300 million (about a quarter of their country) decided to go for a walk and moved to the US via Alaska. Do you really think anybody could stop 300 million people? Answer NO! So in other words the US could double in population and there is not a DAMM thing the US could do about it!

In other words you could never defeat China! Face those facts and life gets simpler.

Re:Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364407)

of course we could defeat china. we might destroy alaska in the process, but (i can't believe i'm quoting the matrix) "there are levels of survival we are willing to accept".

Re:Update (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | about 5 years ago | (#29364885)

At least your quote isn't an over-used one. :-)

Re:Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364459)

I'm pretty sure a nuke or two would take care of that. It wouldn't be popular, but China wouldn't be either.

Re:Update (4, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 years ago | (#29364497)

I always make the argument, what if China decided one day to the next that 300 million (about a quarter of their country) decided to go for a walk and moved to the US via Alaska. Do you really think anybody could stop 300 million people? Answer NO!

I don't think anyone really has to. There isn't enough food between China and Alaska, or between Alaska and CONUS, to feed 300 million people. So if the Chinese decided to do something like this, we could reasonably expect the one survivor to be completely unnoticed in the trail of 300,000,000 corpses along the way.

Re:Update (2, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 5 years ago | (#29364671)

...trail of 300,000,000 corpses

The grizzly bears, wolves, and cougars would be well fed.
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re:Update (1, Funny)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | about 5 years ago | (#29364549)

what if China decided one day to the next that 300 million (about a quarter of their country) decided to go for a walk and moved to the US via Alaska

300 Million people will have to take their shoes off for border control, then get sodomized or whatever the procedure for finding terrorists is?

Re:Update (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | about 5 years ago | (#29364725)

China has a lot of coastline, but even so I imagine that most of its population aren't capable of swimming the Bering Straits, so boats will be a serious limiting factor on the number of people they can move.

Re:Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364873)

Yeah. The only minor question is how do you move 300 million people across Alaska in a reasonable amount of time.
The only other minor question is how will people react, when they start getting shot down like dogs, and the boss says "relax guys, there is so many of us they soon will run out of ammo". I guess you imagine they'd march forward in orderly fashion.

Re:Update (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | about 5 years ago | (#29364897)

Actually people completely underestimate this...

I always make the argument, what if China decided one day to the next that 300 million (about a quarter of their country) decided to go for a walk and moved to the US via Alaska.

Somehow I doubt China has enough planes and boats to move that many people.

Re:Update (1)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#29364901)

Do you really think anybody could stop 300 million people?

300 million people trying to walk to the US via Alaska? Yes, without difficulty.

Re:Update (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 5 years ago | (#29364219)

Then there is the cyber angle. I suspect America could be pwned quite quick.

Because...?

Lastly, who is gonna supply walley word with cheap tupperware and lawnmowers to the post nuke surviviors

Ohh, I see now. Midwest-hating urban hipster. never mind...

Re:Update (0, Offtopic)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 5 years ago | (#29364281)

Midwest-hating urban hipster.

He's just upset we'd still be here after.

Re:Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364297)

Midwest-hating urban hipster.

The weird part is, most of them come from the Midwest in the first place. We (the urban natives) don't want them either.

Re:Update (0, Troll)

DrMaurer (64120) | about 5 years ago | (#29364919)

Wow, you're an urban native? They must have no cities at all in the midwest.

The hipsters move because they have the resources and desires to. End of story.

Re:Update (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 5 years ago | (#29364327)

China is the new economy. Western Europe is just on a downhill spiral.

No. We are Willie Wonka. China is the Oompa Loompas.

Re:Update (2, Interesting)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 5 years ago | (#29364661)

Then there is the cyber angle. I suspect America could be pwned quite quick.

Bearing in mind just about every router/switch in the US Gubment has "Made in China" on them do you honestly think there are no back doors?

Re:Update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364879)

Having worked alongside and with typical Chinese engineering processes, I sleep well knowing that an attempt to actually change or reinvent something, besides simply copying it with enough precision for it to be a passable replacement, is well beyond their current 'state-of-the-art'.

Re:Update (1)

pawnipt (822998) | about 5 years ago | (#29364703)

LOL, my thoughts exactly =\ although china scares me!

Re:Update (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 5 years ago | (#29364771)

Ha! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Wait, that's not the right one...

and so it begins... (1)

Dharkfiber (555328) | about 5 years ago | (#29364133)

Maybe they are already finished with those aircraft carriers I saw being built in Dalian last year.

That's ok (2, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | about 5 years ago | (#29364143)

That's ok, we still have plenty of Uranium...

I for One... (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 5 years ago | (#29364147)

I for one Welcome our new, short, communist overlords.

Space Exploration Curtailed (3, Funny)

Benson Arizona (933024) | about 5 years ago | (#29364153)

Let's hope that they don't stop dilithium shipments!

Operation Chinese Freedom (0, Redundant)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 5 years ago | (#29364157)

Looks like we have to "liberate" another country from an authoritarian regime.

Re:Operation Chinese Freedom (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about 5 years ago | (#29364229)

Try that, and I think you'll find in communist China, it is the authoritarian regime that liberates the people of the aggressor nation.

Re:Operation Chinese Freedom (1)

mrboyd (1211932) | about 5 years ago | (#29364755)

Both countries have the capacity to annihilate each other and I have difficulty seeing how it would end up differently. I can't see how the US would win a conventional warfare as 350 millions people nation trying to beat into submission a 1.6 billion correctly armed one seems just impossible. Even in the eventuality of a US victory it would be impossible for them to get any kind of control over a territory that big even if they shipped every US citizen over there. Invading China would be a moot point.

Most likely they would end up nuking the crap out of each other and we would all get to play fallout for free. (well.. not all of us.)

Re:Operation Chinese Freedom (1)

lwsimon (724555) | about 5 years ago | (#29364863)

I realize you're just being contrary, but China lacks the force projection to threaten the us militarily.

Re:Operation Chinese Freedom (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 years ago | (#29364729)

Sure ... you can live without all those cheap Chinese imports.

Just wait 'til the price of training shoes, TV sets and video consoles goes through the roof.

Re:Operation Chinese Freedom (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29364887)

New Balance sources most of their labor from the U.S. (or at least, much of it, I'm not sure how things break down exactly), and while they don't charge $10, they don't exactly charge a fortune either.

And so it begins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364159)

I *never* expected this would happen

Background information (1)

auric_dude (610172) | about 5 years ago | (#29364171)

Re:Background information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364447)

I could swear I'd seen this exact same Times article as a front page topic on Slashdot earlier too. But maybe it was in a user comment instead.

Maybe it's just a weird deja-vu feeling.

Buy your lasers now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364183)

This could increase the price of many optically pumped crystal lasers (like yag). GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN!

1064 4ever!

Re:Buy your lasers now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364513)

Oh seriously now. Nd:YAG is extremely lightly doped (~0.2-0.5% for CW, ~1.0% for pulsed operation) with neodymium. And yttrium is hardly "rare" even though it's called a "rare earth metal". Plus a single 5g piece of Nd:YAG costs hundreds of dollars anyway, material cost is no doubt but a fraction of it.

So "Shocked" (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | about 5 years ago | (#29364187)

China sees that it can strike while the iron is hot. Without declaring war on everyone, at that. All they have to do is restrict trade while the major countries flop around with oil pains and they'll soon be the top country.

My super-villian theory (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 5 years ago | (#29364197)

Hmm...what doomsday weapon requires mass amounts of rare earth metals?

here's one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364269)

all the nukes, tritium triggers, have to be replaced every so often, allegedly

hard to tell though, never heard of half those metals on the list.

Re:here's one (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about 5 years ago | (#29364749)

Tritium is not a rare earth metal.

Re:My super-villian theory (2, Funny)

Aladrin (926209) | about 5 years ago | (#29364273)

The giant magnet. Pull asteroids into Earth's orbit to rain firey hell on your enemies..

Time to deploy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364207)

... nano - materials!

render unto beijing..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364213)

our rescue/survival will not require any gadgets. using the creators' patentdead newclear kode base, all things are possible. see you there?

Coming to a Store Near You (1)

kiehlster (844523) | about 5 years ago | (#29364223)

Look for "Yttrium-free" stickers on all your LED products. None of them will have red LEDs, but who cares, it's yttrium-free.

Re:Coming to a Store Near You (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29364359)

So hard drive failure lights and alarm lights on new gear will now be green instead of red?? :)

Re:Coming to a Store Near You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364521)

I hope. Red LEDs are so obnoxious.

Indium (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 5 years ago | (#29364231)

Geeks should be equally worried about indium [reuters.com] , of which China is the main producer [indexmundi.com] . So much for those cheap LCDs...

Re:Indium (3, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | about 5 years ago | (#29364591)

All of the LCDs I have bought lately have been made in China. Their export ban changes nothing with regard to finished products.

Good. (0, Offtopic)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 5 years ago | (#29364239)

Maybe now we won't have cars with catastrophic converters messing up the air. Yeah, let's get rid of carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, and have hydrogen sulphide instead. What could possibly go wrong?

2 weeks old? (0, Offtopic)

psyque (1234612) | about 5 years ago | (#29364283)

Why are we getting an article from Aug 24 now? I though we were faster then that. Stale.

Re:2 weeks old? (1)

CXI (46706) | about 5 years ago | (#29364391)

Why are we getting an article from Aug 24 now? I though we were faster then that. Stale.

Yeah, all this news from the past is boring. I want news from the future dammit! If it happened more than 3 seconds ago it's unimportant to me.

Reciprocal regulations (5, Interesting)

valinor89 (1564455) | about 5 years ago | (#29364307)

I think that if they do so they won't mind if we ( as in the other western countries) put prohibitions and restrictions of our own in other product importations. We could revive our cloth, electrodomestic, chemical, (whatever) old industries. It might be a bit expensive at first (mostly for those multinationals ) but then we can be sure of better occupation rates. I's a shame that this is only wishfull thinking...

Re:Reciprocal regulations (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364505)

Yes, please, let's unlearn everything from the Great Depression [voxeu.org] in the middle of a recession. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Reciprocal regulations (4, Insightful)

khchung (462899) | about 5 years ago | (#29364607)

It does not even make sense! China restricts exports and you propose retaliation by restricting imports?!

I assume you live in US (who else always talked about reviving local industries?), do you even know how many export restrictions there are in the US? Crypto, high-tech stuff, whatever vaguely related to "national security", you name it.

All countries (except those that have already became a vassal state of the US) restricts exports of critical resources, and this is allowed in WTO treaties. Examples from countries all over the world include restricting natural resources, science & technology, and even critical infrastructure (you do know that US blocked a company from buying the operations of the Panama Canal for "national security" reasons?).

Only in /. would this non-news story becomes news worthy to make the front page.

Re:Reciprocal regulations (1)

Dolohov (114209) | about 5 years ago | (#29364675)

"Won't mind"? That's probably the point -- they can then use this as a bargaining chip to get access to anything they happen to be short on, or political concessions. They're betting, probably correctly, that while there are substitutes for cloth, wood, petrochemicals, and lots of other raw materials, nothing short of transmutation will give us yttrium in quantity.

Re:Reciprocal regulations (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29364681)

Sadly, we're well beyond that now. A trade war with China now would likely hurt the U.S. a *LOT* more than the U.S. 30 years of "free trade and free markets" aren't something you can just turn away from now without a total economic collapse. Most of our largest retailers now are all but owned by China.

Oops (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 5 years ago | (#29364711)

Meant to say "A trade war with China now would likely hurt the U.S. a *LOT* more than China."

Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 5 years ago | (#29364323)

and finally call China out on it's myriad of violations? The US and Europe seem content over bickering about Airbus and Boeing when in actuality, those two companies' violation(if any) are a real drop in the bucket compared to China's insanely flagrant violations. However, the US is an addict hooked on selling China our debt, instead of oh I don't know, not invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 we decided it was a much better idea to sell ourselves lock stock and barrel to the Chinese. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (4, Interesting)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 5 years ago | (#29364423)

Fat chance. The US and Western Europe are indeed addicted to the unsustainably cheap supply of Chinese credit and cheap labor. We effectively wink at them gobbling up global resources so they can be churned through a cheap labor pool and nonexistent health/safety regimens in order to satiate our desire for a high standard of living at minimal cost. China never had any real intention to abide by the WTO's rules and viewed membership as a national pride issue. Don't hold your breath waiting for China to alter its behavior even if the WTO adds some stank to their toothless regulations.

I need to find a decent font on this Windows box. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29364495)

...insanely flagrant violations...

I thought you said "insanely fragrant violations" and I was scratching my head there for a while.

Re:I need to find a decent font on this Windows bo (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 5 years ago | (#29364663)

Of course, he meant "insanely fragrant violets". They're a big seller for FTD!

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (1)

RobBebop (947356) | about 5 years ago | (#29364519)

we decided it was a much better idea to sell ourselves lock stock and barrel to the Chinese.

And now that it's time for them to collect on that debt, it's probably a good idea for them to stop giving us these cheap resources that are also important to their own development. In school lunch terms... if somebody borrowed $10 from you last week because they wanted to buy stuff from the cafeteria, would you agree to sell him your bag of Doritos this week for a quarter?

This is a hard lesson to learn, but those in debt deserve to be CUT OFF.

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364535)

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/myriad.html

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (1)

whywhywhy (1633441) | about 5 years ago | (#29364623)

I agree to this. Usually the U.S. gains economic wealth through war but they decided to be over advanced for such a simple country and lost money. With all this money they've wasted they have yet to defeat the terrorist. We'd be better off just attacking China before we lose our world power and China decides that they want the America's.

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (1)

lwsimon (724555) | about 5 years ago | (#29364907)

The Congressional Research Service puts the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at $3 trillion. Obama has been in office for 6 months, and we now have a "projected" deficit of $9 trillion, last I heard.

Three times the debt, in 1/12 the time. There's some change you can believe in!

Re:Will somebody in the WTO finally grow a pair (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 5 years ago | (#29364929)

What makes you think it would make any difference? The WTO has made multiple rulings against the US which the US has simply ignored. Why would China care what the WTO says?

Silly policy for a country that cannot feed itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364339)

Sounds like we are headed for yet another trade war - China wants a tonne of wheat, they can furnish a tonne of rare-earth metals.

Alternatives will surface (1)

kriston (7886) | about 5 years ago | (#29364389)

As much as the world's stock of precious metals is being depleted by pseudoenvironmentalist hybrid drivers there will be alternatives. Remember when we all had to change our automotive refrigerants in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Even after the air conditioners were retooled we still found an alternative compound that works with the old R12 models.

Re:Alternatives will surface (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 5 years ago | (#29364569)

Your making a assumption that has no basis in reality not to mention you have used a very bad past situation as a analogy. many gases can be used as coolants. In most instances what these rare earth metals are used for are vital because there are no alternatives.

Frankly i view this as a very smart move on china's part considering we have been busy putting military bases around them and Russia.

Why dictators where loved (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 years ago | (#29364439)

This is why so many of the worlds worst dictators where loved by Moscow and Washington.
As long as the rare raw materials flowed, mass graves where just enemy propaganda.
National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) - April 1974
http://www.population-security.org/28-APP2.html [population-security.org]
"It is vital that the effort to develop and strengthen a commitment on the part of the LDC leaders not be seen by them as an industrialized country policy to keep their strength down or to reserve resources for use by the "rich" countries. Development of such a perception could create a serious backlash adverse to the cause of population stability. Thus the U.S. and other "rich" countries should take care that policies they advocate for the LDC's would be acceptable within their own countries. (This may require public debate and affirmation of our intended policies.) The "political" leadership role in developing countries should, of course, be taken whenever possible by their own leaders."

Ramp up Recycling (1)

Neutral_Observer (1409941) | about 5 years ago | (#29364469)

Recycling of these metals should be the focus. Getting oil out of tar is feasable at a cost. How high do these prices have to go to make recovering these metals worth it?

What can I say. Slashdotters needs to get out more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364475)

Why do people think our set of rules are always the right set of rules to follow? By Chinese standard, the fact that the US has so much porn is just unheard of. Porn is not only illegal but also considered immoral. This is just a cause of different people with different views of the world. If we spent more time outside our bubble and open our eyes, we would understand their point of view. And yes sometime, in those rare cases, they might be doing something right. I am not saying this is one of them but there are things we do pretty backwards.

Cool (1)

jonpublic (676412) | about 5 years ago | (#29364481)

Can they restrict the export of the following too? Lead paint(makes kids retarded), melanine(kills cats), drywall(poisons houses), heparin(kills people dead) and keep them for their own internal market?

Or maybe someone could be held accountable.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 5 years ago | (#29364651)

Or maybe someone could be held accountable.

You mean like when China executed several management types found "responsible" for these incidents? That type of accountable?

Leveling (2, Funny)

JoelMartinez (916445) | about 5 years ago | (#29364493)

But how will I level my blacksmithing if they stop posting mats to the auction house? guess I'll have to take up mining :-/

An interesting observation about these materials.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29364537)

They all seem to be key elements for crucial semiconductor, magnetical and optical (laser) components.

Cash for Rare Earth Metals Program (5, Insightful)

Maltheus (248271) | about 5 years ago | (#29364673)

Maybe they're getting tired of exchanging their wealth for our paper. I admire the way China is focused like a laser on their infrastructure and the acquisition of raw materials, while we're busy making up new problems to solve as a way of avoiding the very serious ones we already have. Perhaps if we focused on production, rather than consumption, we might have a little extra wealth to spend on our own decaying infrastructure.

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