Japan, US, EU to file trade case against China
Japan, the United States and the European Union plan to file a trade case against China over its export restrictions on rare-earth minerals.
Japan announced on Tuesday that the 3 economies will take the case to the World Trade Organization, saying China’s control of such minerals violates trade rules.
China produces over 90 percent of the global supply of rare-earth minerals used in hybrid vehicles and other high-tech products. But prices of the resources have been surging since China put export restrictions in place.
Japan says China is violating global trade rules by giving advantages to domestic firms by limiting exports of the minerals.
Japan also says China’s placing export taxes on rare earths breaches promises it made when joining the WTO.
US Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Tuesday issued a statement saying that China has only been strengthening its restrictions on exports and distorting the global markets.
Kirk said the filing of a trade case against China shows the stance of the US government under President Barack Obama toward urging its trade partners to strictly follow the rules thoroughly.
Japan, the US and the EU are to hold negotiations with China in accordance with WTO rules, and plan to ask the organization to set up a special committee if the issue is not resolved in the talks.
China’s foreign ministry has defended the country’s policy on controlling exports of rare earth minerals.
Ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said on Tuesday that the government has a policy of controlling rare earth exports to protect the environment and the country’s natural resources and that the policy concurs with WTO rules.
The spokesperson also said the argument that China is monopolizing the rare-earth minerals market is groundless, adding that the country has never stopped exports of such minerals, despite environmental pressure to do so.