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Obama Files WTO Case Against China

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March 13, 2012

On the first day of the TREM12 critical materials policy conference in the capitol region, President Obama announced that the US was filing a case against China before the World Trade Organization. Standing in the Rose Garden of the White House, the President made the following remarks, which were streamed live to TREM12 attendees at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City.

Remarks by the President on Fair Trade

Rose Garden

11:37 A.M. EDT


Now, one of the things that I talked about during the State of the Union address was making America more competitive in the global economy.  The good news is that we have the best workers and the best businesses in the world.  They turn out the best products.  And when the playing field is level, they’ll always be able to compete and succeed against every other country on Earth.

President Barack ObamaBut the key is to make sure that the playing field is level.  And frankly, sometimes it’s not.  I will always try to work our differences through with other countries.  We prefer dialogue.  That’s especially true when it comes to key trading partners like China.  We've got a constructive economic relationship with China, and whenever possible, we are committed to working with them to addressing our concerns.  But when it is necessary, I will take action if our workers and our businesses are being subjected to unfair practices.

Since I took office, we’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration, and these actions are making a difference.  For example, we halted an unfair surge in Chinese tires, which has helped put over 1,000 American workers back on the job.  But we haven't stopped there.

Two weeks ago, I created a Trade Enforcement Unit to aggressively investigate any unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world.  And as they ramp up their efforts, our competitors should be on notice:  You will not get away with skirting the rules.  When we can, we will rally support from our allies.  And when it makes sense to act on our own, we will.

I just signed a bill to help American companies that are facing unfair foreign competition.  These companies employ tens of thousands of Americans in nearly 40 states.  Because of subsidies from foreign governments, some of their foreign competitors are selling products at an artificially low price.  That needs to stop.

This morning, we’re taking an additional step forward.  We’re bringing a new trade case against China -- and we’re being joined by Japan and some of our European allies.  This case involves something called rare earth materials, which are used by American manufacturers to make high-tech products like advanced batteries that power everything from hybrid cars to cell phones.

We want our companies building those products right here in America.  But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials -- which China supplies.  Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections.  But their policies currently are preventing that from happening.  And they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow.

Being able to manufacture advanced batteries and hybrid cars in America is too important for us to stand by and do nothing.  We've got to take control of our energy future, and we can’t let that energy industry take root in some other country because they were allowed to break the rules.  So our administration will bring this case against China today, and we will keep working every single day to give American workers and American businesses a fair shot in the global economy.

We're going to make sure that this isn’t a country that’s just known for what we consume.  America needs to get back to doing what it's always done best -- a country that builds and sells products all over the world that are stamped with the proud words:  "Made in America."  That’s how we create good, middle-class jobs at home, and that’s how we're going to create an economy that’s built to last.

Thank you very much, everybody.


11:42 A.M. EDT



Obama's Resource Executive Order

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March 16, 2012

Executive Order - National Defense Resources Preparedness

Immediately following the wrap up of TREM12 last week, President Obama, acting in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United State of America, has signed an executive order on resources preparedness.

It is the policy of the president that "The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.  The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness.  The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States."


Press Release from Senator Murkowski

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Murkowski Delivers Keynote Address at TREM Conference

Calls for Energy Committee to Report Legislation to Update Federal Minerals Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today delivered the keynote address at the Technology and Rare Earth Metals (TREM) Center’s 12th Annual Conference.  The Senator’s remarks highlighted the importance of domestic mineral production and the urgent need to update federal policies in this area.

“There is no question that a stable and affordable supply of minerals is critical to America’s future competitiveness. And yet – despite that – our mineral-related capabilities have been slipping for decades,” Murkowski said. “Rare earths garner most of the headlines, but we are 100 percent dependent on foreign sources of 17 other minerals and more than 50 percent dependent on foreign sources for some 25 more. For years, the government has been content to report on those facts – without doing much to change them.”


TREM12 Agenda Announcement

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The IAGS TREM Center is pleased to announce that the agenda for TREM12 has been updated. Click here to see the agenda.

TREM12 Policy Conference:

Critical Materials for Energy & Defense

March 13-14, 2012 in Washington DC

Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City 
1250 South Hayes Street,
Arlington, VA,
United States


Register Now!


For the energy and security industries, the age of austerity has arrived, and the impact to the resource sector is significant. Commodity prices fluctuate wildly, and the future is shrouded in uncertainty.

Growth in the renewable energy sector is slowing. "We can see as much as a 50 percent reduction in renewable energy projects" said a representative of The American Council on Renewable Energy.

The President has said no (for now) to energy resources from Canada, and China fears the impact to its economy as European demand crumbles. Meanwhile, the Japanese government and companies are investing heavily into mitigating raw material risks.

Gain insight into the future by hearing executives, experts and policymakers in areas of mining, energy, transportation and defense, revealing the strategies  to developing a secure and diverse supply of renewable energy.


Click here to see the agenda, and come back often to see how it develops!

TREM: Center Stage in Singapore

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Rare earths to secure our energy future

By Augustin Boey, Melissa Low and Samir Nazir, Energy Studies Institute

1 November 2011

Yaron Vorona

(Picture credit: EMA)

Reflecting on SIEW 2011's theme--"Securing our Energy Future"—Mr Yaron Vorona, Director of the Technology & Rare Earth Metals Centre at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS TREM Centre), highlighted critical linkages between energy security and access to rare earths. Just as oil-importing nations are dependent upon a few politically-volatile countries, he said energy insecurity is engendered by the control of the vast majority of the world's rare earth reserves by just a few countries.

Mr Vorona added that the relationship between energy security and access to rare earths has become increasingly intertwined over the past few decades due to the move towards cleaner technologies (since rare earths have become a ubiquitous component in a wide range of products from cars to solar panels and from magnets to common batteries). There is also China's rise since the 1980s as the prime producer of rare metals and the consequent geopolitical power that this has conferred on the country.


SIEW Technology and Rare Earth Metals for Clean Energy Roundtable

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August 25, 2011

The TREM Center is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a roundtable as a part of Singapore International Energy Week.

Date: 1 November 2011

Time: 9.30am-12.30pm (break at 10.30-11am)

Venue: Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Singapore

Register Here:


The Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) is an annual week-long platform for energy professionals, policymakers and commentators to discuss and share best practices and solutions within the global energy space. In 2010, SIEW attracted 14,655 participants from over 60 countries. About 450 exhibitors took part and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered the Singapore Energy Lecture.

Roundtables are short but intensive sessions, fielded by a moderator, and designed to involve a small cohort of participants engaging in debate and progressing their priorities in extended discussion. They also make excellent venues for giving and receiving targeted feedback and for meeting like-minded industry peers in in-depth debate on case studies or materials.

SIEW Technology and Rare Earth Metals for Clean Energy Roundtable:

Minerals like lithium, cobalt, and rare earth elements are becoming increasingly strategic. The electric vehicle and renewable energy sectors face supply chain challenges and rising raw materials costs. Roundtable participants will:

  • Understand the supply chain risks of lithium, cobalt, vanadium, rare earth elements, platinum group metals and more
  • Formulate mitigation strategies
  • Meet executives from the automotive, energy, recycling and mining industries

TREM11 Photos and Presentations

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April 11, 2011

Photos and presentations from TREM11 on March 22-23, 2011 have been posted.  Click here to see them.


DoE Announces second RFI at TREM11

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April 11, 2011

On March 22, 2011, the Department of Energy announced at TREM11 that a second round Request For Information (RFI) has been initiated to gather more information on Technology & Rare Earth Metals (TREM).

Last year, at TREM10, Assistant Energy Secretary David Sandalow announced that the Department of Energy would commence working on their Critical Materials Strategy, which was released in December 2010.

The Department of Energy press release is as follows:


March 22, 2011

DOE Announces Second RFI on Rare Earth Metals

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Energy today released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting information from the public on rare earth metals and other materials used in the energy sector.

Responses to this RFI will inform an update to DOE's Critical Materials Strategy (pdf - 5.7mb ), released December 15, 2010, that assessed the use of rare earth metals and other materials important to the development and deployment of a variety of clean energy technologies, such as wind turbines, hybrid vehicles, solar panels and energy efficient light bulbs.

The updated strategy, expected later this year, will include additional analysis of rapidly-changing market conditions.  It will analyze the use of critical materials in other technologies, such as fluid cracking catalysts in petroleum refineries.  Finally, the updated strategy will identify specific steps forward for substitution, recycling and more efficient use of materials identified as critical.

"Having the best, most up-to-date information will help the Department identify opportunities to address critical material challenges in the energy economy," said David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs.

Review the Request for Information (pdf - 105kb). Responses are due no later than 5:00pm (EDT) on May 24, 2011, and should be submitted electronically to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Media contact(s): (202) 586-4940

Lithium: The Lightweight Champion

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April 11, 2011

We are pleased to unveil our new documentary - Lithium: The Lightweight Champion. Learn more about electrification of transport, lithium supplies, and uses.

Watch it here:

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