Text Nis Høyrup Christensen, Confederation of Danish Industry
China has an actual monopoly on so-called rare soils that are used to produce the climate-friendly technologies of the future to be used in wind turbines, hybrid cars and products such as flat screens and iPods.
In the longer term, production may lag behind demand, and the dependency on rare soils may push European energy technology production to China.
Companies from Denmark, Europe and the rest of the western world are in danger of lacking vital raw materials for the production of the wind turbines, hybrid cars and low-energy light bulbs of the future.
China produces 95 percent of the world production of special metals that are called rare soils. China exploits this monopoly to restrict the access of the outside world to its resources for the benefit of its own production. This is done through export quotas and export duties.
Since the demand for rare soils is expected to increase by 8-11 percent annually from 2011 though 2014, demand from companies outside China will no longer be covered by imports from China.