China Raw Material Exports Broke Trade Rules WTO Says

Ruling affects bauxite, coking coal, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus and zinc.

The World Trade Organization on Jan 30. upheld its ruling that Chinese restrictions on key raw material exports broke trade rules following an appeal by Beijing. China must bring its duty and export quota measures on elements including magnesium and zinc into line with its WTO obligations, an appeal body said.

The WTO found in favor of the United States, European Union and Mexico in July following a complaint that China had failed to meet the promises it made when joining the body.

The ruling applies to bauxite, coking coal, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus and zinc -- many of them vital to the chemical and metal industries for producing things like medicines, fridges and juice cans.

Both the United States and the European Union claimed victory after the publication of the appeal body's report.

"Today's report is a tremendous victory for the United States -- particularly its manufacturers and workers," U.S. trade ambassador Ron Kirk said. "Today's decision ensures that core manufacturing industries in this country can get the materials they need to produce and compete on a level playing field."

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said the ruling represented a success in efforts to ensure fair access to "much needed" raw materials for EU industry.

"China now must comply by removing these export restrictions swiftly and furthermore, I expect China to bring its overall export regime -- including for rare earths -- in line with WTO rules," the commissioner said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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