The Obama Administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) accusing China of restraining exports of important raw materials. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said China was using export quotas, exports duties and other measures in an effort to make the materials cheaper for domestic companies.
"China is a leading global producer and exporter of the raw materials in question, and access to these materials is critical for U.S. industrial manufacturers," said Kirk. "The United States is very concerned that China appears to be restricting the exports of these materials for the benefit of their domestic industries, despite strong WTO rules designed to discipline export restraints."
The materials at issue are bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorous and zinc -- key metals and chemicals used in steel, aluminum and chemical manufacturing.
If the request by the United States for consultation does not result in a resolution of the matter, then it could ask WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel. The European Union has also complained to WTO about the Chinese export curbs.