China saw a 16 percent monthly drop of rare earth exports in May amid trade war escalation and an increased focus on domestic resources conservation and high-quality development of commodities, as reported by China Daily.

Rare-earth exports by China fell to 3,640 metric tons in May from 4,329 tons in April, according to the General Administration of Customs. In the first five months, China exported 19,266.8 tons of rare earths, down 7.2 percent year-on-year.

Escalating trade tensions between China and the United States have exerted a negative impact on global supply chains, especially in commodity goods such as crude oil, soybeans and rare earths.

The drop of China’s rare-earth exports is also attributed to domestic resource conservation and environmental protection.

Rare earths, a group of 17 elements, are used in production in a huge number of sectors, ranging from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment.

China produces around 80 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths. However, the country’s rare-earth industry faces problems such as smuggling, illegal mining and production, lack of innovation and environmental protection issues.

The National Development and Reform Commission recently held three seminars with industry experts, key enterprises and local government officials to discuss the country’s efforts to better utilize the rare-earth resources, improve industrial structure, protect resources and foster high-quality development in the sector.

The NDRC said more efforts are needed to improve management of the rare-earth market, rectify market order, foster a better business environment, make breakthroughs in key technologies, crack down on violations of laws and regulations and promote a green, sustainable future.

Rare Earth Exports by China Drop 16 Percent in May