JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The World Trade Organisation (WTO) said it was establishing a panel to examine China’s export restrictions on rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum.
This follows complaints by the European Union (EU), the US and Japan, which stated that China’s enforcement of export duties and quotas, restrictions on the right to export and increasing the “burden and costs” for exporting, were limiting the Asian country’s export of these minerals.
“The export restrictions significantly distort the market and create competitive advantages in favour of China’s manufacturing industry to the detriment of foreign competition,” the EU commented.
China contested that its policies surrounding the export of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum were aimed at protecting natural resources and achieving sustainable economic development, adding that there was no intention of distorting trade.
The EU, in its complaint documents, stated that the export restrictions constituted a violation of China’s WTO commitments under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and commitments under China’s Accession Protocol. Japan noted that the export restrictions were inconsistent with China’s obligations under GATT.
The EU, the US and Japan all failed to resolve the export issues in consultations with the government of China in April.
China produces more than 90% of the world’s rare earths, which are used in the manufacturing of many high-tech products.