BEIJING, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's restrictions on rare earth industry will assist in protecting the environment, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said here Saturday.
"Mass-extraction of rare earth will cause great damage to the environment, that's why China has tightened controls over rare earth production, exploration and trade, " Chen told media during the third China-Japan high-level economic dialogue.
He said what China had done was also consistent with the rules of the World Trade Organization.
China is the largest producer of rare earth elements, which are used in hybrid car motors, computer hardware and components for high-tech products.
Chen said the restriction policy would also have an adverse impact on the Chinese market, where parts for Japanese products were assembled.
He stressed that in order to protect the country's environment, China had no choice but to take such measures.
During the dialogue, Chen also called on Japan to ease high technology export controls to China and simplify visa procedures for Chinese business people.
Japan had expressed concerns over China's export of mineral resources, independent innovation systems and information security policies during the meetings.
Chen said, through the dialogue, that the two sides had enhanced communications and increased mutual understanding over these issues.