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The United States and other countries are worried that China, which controls 97 percent of the world trade in rare earth metals, will use those supplies as a political weapon and cut back their export when it is in a dispute with another country or to grow China's clean energy technology sector.
"The availability of a number of these materials is at risk due to their location, vulnerability to supply disruptions and lack of suitable substitutes," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a report, due to be unveiled on Wednesday at a rare earth metals conference at the Center for Strategi