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U.S. and Allies Bring Rare Earth Materials Case to WTO
Mar 16, 2012
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President Obama announced this week that the United States, along with Japan and some European nations, would bring a trade case accusing China of artificially controlling the export of rare earth minerals. The materials are used extensively in a number of electronics devices.

The President said China's rules are intended to restrict exports. "They go against the very rules that China agreed to follow," Obama said. The administration filed the trade case on Tuesday with the World Trade Organization.

"China's restrictions on rare earths and other products violate international trade rules and must be removed. These measures hurt our producers and consumers in the EU and across the world, including manufacturers of pioneering hi-tech and 'green' business applications," said Commissioner Karel De Gucht of the European Commission. "Despite the clear ruling of the WTO in our first dispute on raw materials, China has made no attempt to remove the other export restrictions. This leaves us no choice but to challenge China's export regime again to ensure fair access for our businesses to these materials."

The move broad a positive response from U.S. trade groups, such as the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

"CEA today welcomes the Obama Administration's announcement that it will challenge China at the WTO," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "If China wants to be a world player in trade, it needs to behave like one. For far too long our member companies, particularly small companies manufacturing here in the United States have been bearing the cost burden of China's unfair practices. We welcome this move and the goal of diversifying the sources of these important minerals used in consumer electronics products."

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