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.
The restraints to be investigated include:
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…
Lessons from the Japanese: Monozukuri, Quality, Cost Cutting, and the Risk of Recall.
Recalls on products sold in Japan (excluding cars, food and drugs) are up more than 80% from three years earlier, according to a Wall Street Journal report credited above. It’s not just Toyota. It’s not just Cars. Is it the relentless pursuit of cost cutting? Is it the reduction in part count (sku reduction)? As a component is used across many products, increasing scale and so reducing price per piece, this also increases the scope and scale of a recall if the design or manufacture is defective. It’s not just Japan. Ford recalls 2007-2010: 15.505million vehicles according to my analysis of the data here. See our post from October 21 2009 here. Where was Congress when Ford announced these huge recalls? GM recalled1.5 million of its vehicles last year. Did Congress weigh in? (I mean, besides bailing them out with lots of our tax dollars.) Why is Congress suddenly calling for hearings? I think thatOEM manufacturers and businessmen EVERYWHERE, not just in JAPAN,have taken their eyes off the ball of continuous improvement in their manufacturing processes. They have been distracted by the fleeting flash of lower prices. Continuousreduction in ‘costs’is not the same as payingcontinuous attention toQuality. And when you take your eye off the Quality ball, it really shows up when you have a near perfect record.
Cultural footnote: This summer, I spoke with managers at Japanese auto companies who told me that MONOZUKURI is about ‘the existential joys of making things.’ Of ‘implementing a process that realizes a design to product.’ This was a really big deal. It was their long and storied tradition. It’s their national heritage, and they are “sharing it with the world.”
I’m starting to think that MONOZUKURIis really more about mercantilist economics and economic nationalism.
And maybe 安価. Or 失敗.