At the request of the United States, the European Union and Japan, the Dispute Settlement Body established on 23 July 2012 a panel to consider China’s export restraints of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum.

Rare earths are used in magnets electronics and specialty alloying applications among other uses.

The restraints to be investigated include:

  •  Export quotas,
  • Export duties, 
  • Restrictions on the right to export (various)
  • Administrative requirements that limit  China’s exports of these materials ( by increasing the burden and costs for  exporting.)

The European Union said that  export restrictions in this dispute constitute a violation of China’s WTO  commitments undertaken under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)  as well as commitments undertaken in China’s Accession Protocol specifically  aimed at these types of restrictions.

Japan said that China’s exports  restrictions are inconsistent with China’s obligations under the WTO Agreement.

The WTO members announcing  they wanted to exercise third-party rights were Viet Nam, Norway, Oman, Chinese  Taipei, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India, Canada and Colombia.

According to the EU, the export  restrictions significantly distort the market and create competitive advantages  in favour of China’s manufacturing industry to the detriment of foreign  competition.

China said it has no intention of protecting domestic  industry through means that would distort trade.

Note to China: It’s not what you intend, its what you actually do…

Nothing indicating market distortion on this graph. (sarcasm)

WTO report here.

Link to China response.

Nice discussion at Propurchaser blog

Rare Earth Powder

P.S To Baby Boomers: We’re not talking about

That great band of the same name…

Leadership is about action, not potential. Global Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) data shows that it is the USA, not China, that is leading the world out of the slowdown.

Maybe the term SHOULD be U-BRIC

Here are 5 reasons that PMI data is relevant evidence for your analysis

  • PMI is a reliable fact-based indicator as opposed to opinion or confidence-based indicators.
  • PMI is produced monthly, faster than comparable official data series.
  • PMI covers almost all private sector economic activity in many countries (including the all-important service sectors).
  • PMI are not revised after publication.
  • PMI are produced using the same methodology in all countries where they are produced- assuring comparability.

While we associate the PMI data with the Institute for Supply Management, the fact is that Markit Economics is the firm doing the actual surveys and reporting.

How do you read the above PMI Data?



Lessons from  the Japanese:  Monozukuri, Quality, Cost Cutting, and the Risk of Recall.

In this case, up is "Not good."

Graphic credit.
Recalls on products sold in Japan (excluding cars, food and drugs) are up more than 80% from three years earlier, according to a Wall Street Journal report credited above.
It’s not just Toyota.
It’s not just Cars.
Is it the relentless pursuit of cost cutting?
Is it the reduction in part count (sku reduction)? As a component is used across many products, increasing scale and  so reducing price per piece,  this also  increases the scope and scale of a recall if the design or manufacture is defective.
It’s not just Japan.
Ford recalls 2007-2010: 15.505  million vehicles according to my analysis of the data here. See our post from October 21 2009 here.
Where was Congress when Ford announced these huge recalls?
GM recalled 1.5 million of its vehicles last year.
Did Congress weigh in? (I mean, besides bailing them out with lots of our tax dollars.)
Why is Congress suddenly calling for hearings?
I think that OEM manufacturers and businessmen  EVERYWHERE, not just in JAPAN, have taken their eyes off the ball of continuous improvement in their manufacturing processes.  They have been distracted by the fleeting flash of lower prices.
Continuous reduction in ‘costs’ is not the same as paying  continuous attention to Quality. And when you take your eye off the Quality ball, it  really shows up when you have a near perfect record.
Cultural footnote: This summer, I spoke with managers at Japanese auto companies who told me that MONOZUKURI is about ‘the existential joys of making things.’  Of ‘implementing a process that realizes a design to product.’  This was a really big deal. It was their long and storied tradition. It’s their national heritage, and they are “sharing it with the world.”
 I’m starting to  think that MONOZUKURI is really more about mercantilist economics and economic nationalism
 And maybe 安価.  Or 失敗.