"BAOTOU, China — The Chinese government on Thursday abruptly ended its unannounced export embargo on crucial rare earth minerals to the United States, Europe and Japan, four industry officials said.
The embargo, which has raised trade tensions, ended as it had begun — with no official acknowledgment from Beijing, or any explanation from customs agents at China’s ports.
Rare earths are increasingly in demand for their use in a broad range of sophisticated electronics, from smartphones to smart bombs.
Having blocked shipments of raw rare earth minerals to Japan since mid-September, and to the United States and Europe since early last week, Chinese customs agents on Thursday morning allowed shipments to resume to all three destinations, the industry officials said."
Keith Bradsher reports for the New York Times October 29, 2010.