China opposes release of WTO report on rare earths

Nov 01, 2013 by Joe Mcdonald

China said Friday it opposes the release of a WTO report about its export curbs on rare earths—exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products—following news accounts that the document rejects Beijing's policy as a trade violation.

The report by World Trade Organization experts is not a final ruling and leaks would violate the trade body's rules, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement. It gave no details of the report.

Japan's Jiji Press news agency and The Financial Times, citing unidentified officials, have said the report sides with the United States, the European Union and Japan. In a March 2012 complaint to the WTO, they said export curbs improperly favor Chinese domestic manufacturers in violation of Beijing's free-trade commitments.

China has about 30 percent of global deposits of but accounts for more than 90 percent of production. It alarmed foreign companies by limiting exports in 2009 amid efforts to build up domestic manufacturers to capture more of the profits that go to producers of batteries and other products.

Chinese officials have expressed hope foreign companies that use rare earths will shift production to China and give technology to local partners.

The case is " in the WTO Dispute Panel hearing stage, and according to WTO rules, the panel's hearings are not disclosed," said the ministry statement. "Any leak of the report circulated to the members before the panel hearing would be suspected of violating WTO rules," it said.

Rare earths are 17 minerals used to make goods including hybrid cars, weapons, flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, mercury-vapor lights and camera lenses.

Beijing also has tightened control over its rare earths industry by pushing companies to merge into state-owned groups and forcing smaller producers to close.

The trade restrictions are especially sensitive at a time when governments are trying to boost exports to reduce high unemployment. The United States and Europe are looking to increase sales of high-tech goods that include products made with rare earths.

"China has repeatedly stressed that China policy objective is to protect resources and the environment and achieve sustainable development and that it has no intention of protecting domestic industries in a way that distorts ," the commerce ministry statement said.

Beijing's export curbs pushed up rare earths prices on global markets. That prompted foreign producers to announce plans to reopen or develop mines in California, Canada, India, Russia and elsewhere.

Explore further: Clooney slams skittish Hollywood after Sony hack

5 /5 (7 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China raises rare earths export quota for 2012

Aug 22, 2012

(AP) — China on Wednesday slightly increased this year's quota for rare earths exports under controversial controls on the exotic minerals needed by manufacturers of mobile phones and other high-tech products.

China cuts rare earths mining permits

Sep 19, 2012

(AP)—China has cut the number of permits for rare earths mining in a new move to tighten controls over the exotic minerals needed to manufacture mobile phones, electric cars and other high-tech goods.

China tightens controls on rare earths production

Aug 08, 2012

(AP) — China's government has further tightened curbs on production of rare earths used in mobile phones and other high-tech products in a move that might inflame trade tensions with Washington and Europe.

China defends curbs on rare earths

Jun 20, 2012

(AP) — China on Wednesday defended its export curbs on rare earths used in high-tech products as an environmental measure and rejected a World Trade Organization challenge by the United States, Europe and Japan.

Recommended for you

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

1 hour ago

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

2 hours ago

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

15 hours ago

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

Clooney slams skittish Hollywood after Sony hack

22 hours ago

Film star George Clooney slammed the Hollywood movie industry for failing to stand up against the cyber threats that prompted Sony Pictures to cancel release of the movie "The Interview."

User comments : 0

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.