BEIJING, June 20 (Xinhua) -- China's decision to impose stricter regulations on its rare earth industry was made out of environmental concerns and should not be seen as a pretext for political or economic gain, an official said Wednesday.
Su Bo, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology, said at a press conference that China's imposition of export quotas and tougher regulations for the sector are aimed at protecting the environment and public health.
Some countries have complained that China's regulations have led to price increases for rare earth metals, triggering concerns that the country is trying to use the resources as a political bargaining chip.
China on Wednesday issued its first white paper on the rare earth industry. The paper, titled "Situation and Policies of China's Rare Earth Industry," was released by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet.
The country supplies more than 90 percent of the world's rare earth demand, but its reserves just accounts for 23 percent of the world's total.