RPT-UPDATE 1-China urges nations to accept rare earths stance
* Commerce minister says quotas aim at environmental goals
* Says willing to work with Japan to find substitutes
* Purchasing nations critical of China export quotas
(Adds details, background)
BEIJING, March 7 (Reuters) - Economies that have come to depend on China for rare earths metals should accept that Beijing has real environmental concerns that make curtailing exports necessary, the Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Monday.
China produces about 97 percent of the global supply of rare earth minerals used in smartphones, electric car motors and high-tech industrial equipment. Beijing cut export quotas by 40 percent last year, alarming buyers and trading partners.
China has again cut export quotas for the first half of 2011 by 35 percent from the first half of last year, and the United States has said it could complain to the World Trade Organisation about the restrictions. [ID:nN18185675]
But Chen said the quotas were for legitimate environmental reasons. He said he had seen the ravages from using acid to leach the minerals from the earth. Continued...