02/01/2012, 00.00
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WTO vs China: Beijing must ensure fair access to rare earths

The World Trade Organisation criticises China for limiting the exports of 17 metals crucial to the high-tech industry.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China is bracing for renewed calls to ease its rare earths controls after the World Trade Organisation ruled Beijing's limits on key raw material exports broke trade rules. China is the world’s main supplier of 17 rare earths, which are crucial in high-tech products.

After complaints by some members, the WTO ruled that China must bring duty and export quota measures on elements, including magnesium and zinc, into line with its WTO obligations.

Beijing had argued that measures on some of the metals were justified to conserve its natural resources.

"We are ready for it," Yu Fang, deputy director of the department of treaty and law under the Commerce Ministry, was quoted as saying.

European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht, a vocal critic of China's rare earths export controls, said the WTO ruling represented a success in efforts to ensure fair access to raw materials for EU industry.

He called on China to bring its "overall export regime, including for rare earths, in line with WTO rules".
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See also
Europe and China at loggerheads over rare earths
China cuts rare earth exports, raising concerns around the world
China to cut rare earths export quotas by 35 per cent
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