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China regrets WTO ruling on rare earth

2014-08-08 07:54 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Thursday that it regretted the World Trade Organization's (WTO) decision to uphold a previous ruling against China's management of rare earth exports.

China regretted the WTO's final ruling that China's export duties, quotas, and administration of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum products were inconsistent with WTO rules and China's Accession Protocol, said a MOC official.

But China welcomed the WTO's decision to support China's appeal, while not supporting the appeal lodged by the United States after the previous ruling, the official said.

The WTO in late March ruled that China had acted inconsistently with WTO rules with regard to export measures imposed on rare earth materials. China lodged the appeal to the WTO against its ruling in April.

The European Union, Japan and the United States teamed up to bring a joint case in March 2012 to the WTO over China's measures on exports of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum. They claimed that the restriction had limited other countries' access to the minerals, given China a competitive advantage and hurt other producers and consumers.

The MOC official said China has enhanced management of resource products which are high-polluting and high-energy consuming in recent years due to severe resource and environment pressure.

The move has contributed to the global sustainable development, the official added.

Rare earths, a class of 17 mineral elements, are some of the most sought-after metals due to their vital role in green technologies like wind turbines and electric car batteries as well as in military sectors.

China, with its rare earth reserves accounting for some 23 percent of the global total, supplies over 90 percent of the world's market demand at the cost of causing much pollution. In contrast, some other countries also with rich reserves strictly limit rare earth production for environmental reasons.

The MOC official said China will evaluate the ruling and adopt measures in accordance with WTO rules to protect fair competition and ensure sustainable development. 

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