By Daniel Hunter

China has scrapped its quota system which restricts the exports of rare earth minerals after a ruling from the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Chinese government restricted exports of the 17 minerals in 2009 as it tried to develop its own industry. But the WTO last year ruled that China could not justify the restriction.

China dominates the rare earth market. It is responsible for around 90% of the world's production, despite only having around a third of the world's deposits. Rare earth minerals are crucial to the manufacture of hi-tech products like smartphones.

The US, the EU and Japan had argued that China was restricting exports to push-up prices.

Under the new guidelines, rare earth minerals will still require an export license, but they won't be bound by a quota.

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