China tightens controls over rare earth exports, imports of key commodities

China has asked exporters to report transactions of strategically important rare earth metals and oxide products, as economic security remains high on the agenda for policymakers, Report informs via South China Morning Post.

Importers of crude oil, iron ore, copper ore concentrates and potash fertiliser have also been asked to report orders and shipments, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

The new requirements, an update on the commodity reporting regulations released by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2022, will last for two years starting from October 31.

Previously, 14 imported items fell under the reporting mechanism, including soybeans, rapeseed oil, formula milk powder, pork, beef and sugar.

Rare earths, though, are the only item on the export reporting list.

China is the world’s top producer of rare earths, which can be used in a variety of sectors, such as defence and new energy vehicles.

It has long been speculated they could be used as a potential tool of retaliation against the US trade war.

Beijing has continued to supply overseas buyers, despite Washington taking actions to obtain increased supplies from domestic mining, as well as its allies such as Australia, and further afield including Vietnam and Mongolia.

According to the new regulations, traders need to provide real time reports, including country of origin, the date any contract was signed, quantity, the data the shipment was loaded, as well as shipment and arrival details and the port of arrival for customs clearance.

The China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters – a Beijing-based semi-official trade body – has been assigned to collect, compile and analyse the data, which will be sent to the commerce ministry.

However, authorities would not share detailed business information, promising to protect commercial secrets.

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