President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. will bring a case against China before the World Trade Organization over "rare earth minerals."
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said that he wants to see more freedom in the export of the minerals, which are used in a wide variety of advanced technology products.
"We're bringing a new trade case against China -- and we're being joined by Japan and some of our European allies," Obama said. "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."
He added, "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."
Obama said that his administration would have no issues if China would simply let the international market for such goods function on its own.
"But their policies currently are preventing that from happening," he said. "And they go against the very rules that China agreed to follow."
Obama said that the needs of the high-tech manufacturing sector in the U.S. - the ability to manufacture advanced batteries and hybrid cars, for example - make the issue too important to ignore.
"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," he said. "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."
He added, "America needs to get back to doing what it's always done best - [being] 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."
Obama also took the occasion to address reports of a massacre of Afghan civilians at the hands of American troops over the weekend.
"The United States takes this as seriously as if it was our own citizens and our own children who were murdered," Obama said he told Afghan President Hamid Karzai "We're heartbroken over the loss of innocent life."
He added, "The killing of innocent civilians is outrageous and it's unacceptable. It's not who we are as a country, and it does not represent our military."
Obama said he had directed the Department of Defense to "spare no effort" in conducting a full and thorough review of what happened.
"I can assure the American people and the Afghan people that we will follow the facts wherever they lead us, and we will make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law," he said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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