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Commodities eye

China's move on standards forces hand of rival nations

Neodymium and dysprosium are used in magnets for car motors.

TOKYO -- China is leading efforts to draw up new international standards for rare-earth metals, even as countries like Japan and Australia try to limit the influence of the world's top producer of the vital industrial materials.

     The Chinese presented their proposal for standardization this May at a meeting of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in India. In voting held from August through September, 21 of the 23 member countries that took part agreed to form a committee for the effort, easily exceeding the required two-thirds supermajority. The ISO consists of standards bodies from about 160 countries.

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