Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Asian Studies

First Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Steven Heine

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Jin Zeng

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


China, Rare Earths, Trade Monopoly, World Trade Organization

Date of Defense



China’s behavior as a near-monopolist of rare earths has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. This thesis first examines the underlying causes behind China’s rise to the status of rare-earths near-monopolist, including government support; lax environmental controls; unregulated production; and relatively low costs compared to the rest of the world. Second, the thesis also examines the preeminent international and domestic factors influencing China’s behavior as a near-monopolist of rare earths. International factors include international demand; international trade pressure; international price-setting authority issues; and geopolitical factors. I next identify domestic factors that exert influence over China’s rare earths-related behavior: environmental protection; rare earth resource protection; rare earths industry regulation; and protecting and aiding China’s domestic rare earths industry. The study concludes with a synthesis of the factors influencing China’s rare-earths-related behavior in the overall context of support and direction by China’s Central Government.





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