Chinese rare earth export policies currently result in accelerating its depletion. Thus adopting an optimal export trade selection strategy is crucial to determining and ultimately identifying the ideal trading partners. This paper introduces a multi-attribute decision-making methodology which is then used to select the optimal trading partner. In the method, an evaluation criteria system is established to assess the seven top trading partners based on three dimensions: political relationships, economic benefits and industrial security. Specifically, a simple additive weighing model derived from an additive utility function is utilized to calculate, rank and select alternatives. Results show that Japan would be the optimal trading partner for Chinese rare earths. The criteria evaluation method of trading partners for China's rare earth exports provides the Chinese government with a tool to enhance rare earth industrial policies
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