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News Picks : WTO rules China is violating trade agreements regarding rare-earth exports

By: Physics Today
Fri Mar 28 15:27:00 UTC 2014
Ars Technica: In 2012 the US filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to China cutting its exports of rare-earth metals by 40% in 2010. Now the WTO has ruled that China has violated the trade laws it agreed to when it joined the organization in 2001. Rare earths are widely used in modern electronics, and China is the dominant supplier. In its arguments to the WTO, China claimed that its export restrictions were based on environmental concerns because extracting and processing the metals produces significant pollution. However, the WTO ruling indicated that there was an inequality in China's domestic and export rules that could not be accounted for by environmental concerns. Unless China reforms its export policy, it may be subject to sanctions from the US as well as from the EU and Japan, which have also joined the complaint against China.

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