US challenges China’s export restraints on rare earths in WTO

These materials are key inputs in a multitude of US made-products.

Written by Agencies | Washington/beijing | Published: March 13, 2012 7:50:49 pm

US,European Union and Japan today dragged China to the WTO for its alleged unfair export restraints on rare earths,as well as tungsten and molybdenum,widely used in hi-tech products.

These materials are key inputs in a multitude of US made-products and manufacturing sectors,including hybrid car batteries,wind turbines,energy-efficient lighting,steel,advanced electronics,automobiles,petroleum,and chemicals.

“America’s workers and manufacturers are being hurt in both established and budding industrial sectors by these policies.

“China continues to make its export restraints more restrictive,resulting in massive distortions and harmful disruptions in supply chains for these materials throughout the global marketplace,” the US Trade Representative,Ron Kirk said making the announcement in this regard.

China,which produces more than 95 per cent of the world’s rare earth,has defended its restrictions on export of rare earth.

Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei said: “We feel sorry for their (to take it to WTO) decision.”

A Foreign Ministry spokesman today said the measures were necessary to conserve the highly sought after natural resource.

Consultations are the first step in the World Trade Orgnaisation (WTO) dispute settlement process,and parties are encouraged to agree to a solution at this stage.

Under WTO rules,if the matter is not resolved through consultations within 60 days,the US may request the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel.

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