China to appeal WTO ruling over rare earth exports

August 24, 2011 by Fran Wang
Rare earths are seen awaiting export at a port in Lianyungang, eastern China. The country has said it would appeal against a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that it illegally restricted exports of the material key to many high-tech industries.

China, under pressure to relax controls over rare earths, said Wednesday it would appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling that it illegally restricted exports of other key raw materials.

The WTO last month upheld complaints by the United States, European Union and Mexico, ruling that had failed to abide by accession commitments when it imposed quotas and duties on several types of minerals.

The complainants charged that export quotas and duties imposed by Beijing on the raw materials were illegal and against commitments China made when it joined the world trade body.

"China will appeal," commerce ministry spokesman Shen Danyang told journalists at a briefing Tuesday. "We maintain that our policies do not violate WTO rules."

The July 5 WTO ruling applies to elements including bauxite, coking coal, fluorspar, magnesium, , silicon metal, , yellow phosphorus and zinc.

The complainants charged that all are key inputs for numerous products in the steel, aluminium and chemical sectors and said any restrictions could lead to sharp spikes in world prices.

WTO arbitrators backed the complaints, ruling that China had failed to abide by its accession commitments when it imposed quotas and duties.

A fact file on rare earth minerals and their central role in the production of many high-tech products

They rejected Beijing's arguments of conservation concerns as China failed to prove that it imposed export restrictions in tandem with limits for domestic consumption of the .

Earlier this year Beijing also caused an international outcry after it moved to tighten its grip over -- 17 elements critical to making many high-tech products -- including slashing exports and imposing higher taxes.

China, the world's largest producer of rare earths, has also cited environmental concerns and domestic demand for tightening restrictions on the key ingredients for making everything from iPods and to missiles.

If the WTO ruling is upheld, it could bolster international efforts to get Beijing to relax controls over rare earths which they have failed to do so far despite intense lobbying by key trade partners.

Both the United States and the European Union welcomed the WTO ruling, with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht saying at the time that China should also ensure "free and fair access to rare earth supplies".

China has said its measures are in line with the objective of sustainable development promoted by the WTO and incentivise the healthy development of the resource industry.

In the wake of the ruling, Chinese media hit out at the European Union and United States, accusing them of acting out of self-interest.

The state-run Economic Information Daily said the and Europe were seeking access to China's resources to "satisfy the needs of their domestic industries, especially the development needs of high-tech industries."

The newspaper -- owned by the official Xinhua news agency -- said China should be "on guard" as some countries pursue their own interests and "make better use of WTO rules to fight for its own lawful rights and interests".

Explore further: U.S.: China must 'crack down' on piracy

Related Stories

U.S.: China must 'crack down' on piracy

November 14, 2005

The Chinese government must "crack down" on piracy and enforce intellectual-property rights, the top U.S. trade official said Monday in Beijing.

China to appeal WTO ruling on book, movie imports

August 17, 2009

(AP) -- China will appeal a World Trade Organization ruling that ordered it to ease restrictions on imports of movies, music and books in a case brought by Washington, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Monday.

WTO rules against EU on hi-tech duties

August 16, 2010

The World Trade Organization has backed the United States, Japan and Taiwan in their complaint against EU duties on high-technology products, according to a ruling published Monday.

Traders: China resumes rare earth exports to Japan

September 29, 2010

(AP) -- Beijing has apparently told Chinese companies they can resume exports to Japan of rare earth minerals used in high-tech products but is holding up shipments with tighter customs inspections, two Japanese trading ...

China says rare earths not a 'bargaining tool'

October 28, 2010

(AP) -- China said Thursday it will not use exports of rare earths, exotic minerals required by high-tech industry, as a diplomatic "bargaining tool" while Washington pressed Beijing to clarify its policy following its de ...

European envoy: China may alter rare earths policy

July 14, 2011

(AP) -- A European trade envoy said Chinese officials indicated Thursday that Beijing might change its curbs on exports of rare earths after a World Trade Organization panel rejected similar restrictions on other metals.

Recommended for you

Team develops targeted drug delivery to lung

September 2, 2015

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have developed a new method that can target delivery of very small volumes of drugs into the lung. Their approach, in which micro-liters ...

Not another new phone! But Nextbit's Robin is smarter

September 2, 2015

San Francisco-based Nextbit wants you to meet Robin, which they consider as the smarter smartphone. Their premise is that no one is making a smart smartphone; when you get so big it's hard to see the forest through the trees. ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

September 1, 2015

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.