The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Tuesday announced revisions to a list of bulk commodities whose import and export needs to be reported for statistics purpose and has included rare earths for the first time to a list of minerals that need to be reported for export.
An analyst said that the move is in line with common international practice and the purpose is to ensure healthy and stable development of rare earths that is central for the next-generation technologies.
According to a circular posted on the website of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Tuesday, traders need to immediately report the shipment, number and time of bulk commodities that are included in the list. Related import and export commerce chambers are responsible for collecting and analyzing the data, which will be reported to MOFCOM.
As part of the measures to stabilize the country's foreign trade, Chinese authorities established the statistics mechanism of the import and export of bulk commodities in line with common international practice, according to the circular. Effective survey and statistics will contribute to precise understanding of the status quo and trend of the import and export of bulk commodities and guide traders to conduct foreign trade in an orderly fashion so as to avoid risks and ensure stable foreign trade, it said.
"The new move will provide comprehensive export data about rare earth, including volume and price, so as to ensure the healthy and stable the development of the valuable resources in the digital era," Wang Guoqing, research director at Beijing Lange Steel Information Research Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Rare earth, dubbed "industrial gold," is a group of 17 chemical elements used in a wide range of products from high-tech consumer electronics to weaponry.
China provides more than 85 percent of the world's rare earth and is home to about two-thirds of the global supply of scarce metals and minerals, according to a report by the US think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2021.
Although China has large rare-earth reserves, the development of the industry remains in its early stages, resulting prices being pushed down to a relatively low level. "Some rare-earth minerals have been traded for 'cabbage prices'," said Wang, noting that the new move will strengthen regulations of rare earth export.
By collecting comprehensive export data, the Chinese authorities will be able to formulate appropriate policies for the export of rare earths in a bid to elevate the competitive of the Chinese industry and enhance power of discourse internationally, she said.