China, US Clash on Minerals – Morning Business Memo

Mar 13, 2012 7:55am

There’s a new trade clash with China over rare minerals used in cellphones and other high-tech goods. The Obama administration is expected to lead an international offensive as the United States, European Union and Japan plan to file a case with the World Trade Organization. China is under pressure to ease its stranglehold on minerals used by global manufacturers.

The others were alarmed at China’s move in 2009 to limit exports while it builds an industry to produce lightweight magnets and other goods that use them. About 97 percent of the world’s rare minerals are produced in China. The United States and other nations object to Chinese restrictions. Officials in Beijing say they need to limit environmental damage and conserve scarce resources.

Nobody likes to pay taxes. If you’re looking to cut yours, consider a visit to the local tax assessor’s office. New research from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance suggests “30 percent of U.S. properties are assessed at higher values than they are actually worth.”

Mark Solheim, a senior editor at Kiplinger’s, tells ABC News Radio that many homeowners could be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars more than they should. His advice? “Get your property’s record card from your local tax assessor’s office and check that for errors.” Look at zillow.com or other websites to compare the value of homes in your neighborhood. Then homeowners can “pull their record cards and see what they’re paying in property taxes.”

The U.S. federal deficit fell slightly during the first five months of the budget year. But the red ink is still expected to amount to $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. Speaking of debt, Greece’s new government bonds are trading at sky-high levels, confirming that investors are still pessimistic about the country’s financial future

Yahoo has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, essentially accusing the social network giant of building the company on Yahoo technology. The claim alleges that Facebook violated 10 Yahoo patents. “Patent lawsuits are big right now and you can get a lot of money whether it’s through a settlement, licensing agreements, or by winning in court,” Michael Gorman of Engadget said.

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