The New York Times, again with the scoop:
The Chinese government abruptly ended on Thursday its unannounced embargo of exports of crucial strategic minerals to the United States, Europe and Japan, although shipments to Japan still encountered some difficulties, four rare earth industry officials said.
After blocking shipments of raw rare earth minerals to Japan since Sept. 21, and to the United States and Europe since Oct. 18, Chinese customs officials, without explanation, allowed shipments to resume to all three destinations, said industry officials who insisted on anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue. Resumed shipments to Japan still face additional scrutiny and some delays.
The report comes just after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she would discuss the issue with Chinese officials on a trip to Asia this week.
While China may no longer be blocking the shipments, the country has made its point loud and clear: China has the power and the United States doesn’t. It’s an uncomfortable position for the U.S. government to be in. Because China is estimated to control 97 percent of the world’s rare earth element production, it controls supply. The United States is very dependent on rare earths. They’re used in hundreds of everyday consumer goods, as well as military and clean energy technology.
So don’t expect concerns about rare earths to disappear. It’s likely to remain a top priority for lawmakers like Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) (assuming, of course, that she wins re-election).
For more on the issue, see my story on the struggle to develop a U.S. rare earths industry.
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
BOSTON -- Snow is falling in the Bay State, from western Massachusetts to heavily Democratic downtown Boston. In a campaign full of lucky breaks for Republican
MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley
BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.