At the request of the United States, the European Union and Japan, the Dispute Settlement Body established on 23 July 2012 a panel to consider China’s export restraints of rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum.

Rare earths are used in magnets electronics and specialty alloying applications among other uses.

The restraints to be investigated include:

  •  Export quotas,
  • Export duties, 
  • Restrictions on the right to export (various)
  • Administrative requirements that limit  China’s exports of these materials ( by increasing the burden and costs for  exporting.)

The European Union said that  export restrictions in this dispute constitute a violation of China’s WTO  commitments undertaken under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)  as well as commitments undertaken in China’s Accession Protocol specifically  aimed at these types of restrictions.

Japan said that China’s exports  restrictions are inconsistent with China’s obligations under the WTO Agreement.

The WTO members announcing  they wanted to exercise third-party rights were Viet Nam, Norway, Oman, Chinese  Taipei, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India, Canada and Colombia.

According to the EU, the export  restrictions significantly distort the market and create competitive advantages  in favour of China’s manufacturing industry to the detriment of foreign  competition.

China said it has no intention of protecting domestic  industry through means that would distort trade.

Note to China: It’s not what you intend, its what you actually do…

Nothing indicating market distortion on this graph. (sarcasm)

WTO report here.

Link to China response.

Nice discussion at Propurchaser blog

Rare Earth Powder

P.S To Baby Boomers: We’re not talking about

That great band of the same name…