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Japan, India to ink rare earths deal: Report

Published on Aug 28, 2014 2:07 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Tokyo and New Delhi will next week sign an agreement that will see around 2,000 tons of rare earths imported from India, a report said on Thursday, as Japan looks to diversify supply away from China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to agree on the deal at their summit in Tokyo on Monday, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

Some 2,000 to 2,300 tons of rare earths - roughly 15 per cent of what Japan's manufacturers use each year - will be shipped from India to Japan, it said, adding that imports will start as early as February.

China accounts for 95 per cent of global production of rare earths, a category of 18 metals vital for the production of smartphones, hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, steel and low-energy light bulbs, amongst other things. The country is home to 23 per cent of global reserves of such metals, and this month lost an appeal on a ruling by the World Trade Organisation that said it had violated global trade rules by restricting exports.

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