With the demand for rare earth increasing year by year, many buyers are taking the risk of smuggling rare earth from China, the largest rare earth exporter in the world, the China Business News (CBN) reported Monday.
An anonymous government official told the CBN that about 20,000 tonnes of rare earth was smuggled from China in 2008.
Customs statistics showed that last year the country exported 39,500 tonnes of rare earth oxide. That means smuggling accounted for one-third of the total volume of rare earth leaving China, the newspaper said.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been mulling plans to curb the smuggling of rare earth, according to an unnamed expert participated in the drafting of the "Rare-earth Industry Development Plan 2009-2015". He said the authorities would introduce regulations and policies to punish rare-earth smuggling.
Rare earth contains elements used in everything from agriculture to manufacturing.
(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2009)