US, EU, and Japan Jointly Complain to WTO About China's Rare Earth Policies

Today the Obama administration announced it, along with the European Union and Japan, is bringing an unfair trade complaint against China to the World Trade Organization regarding control of the global supply of rare earth minerals.

It’s being alleged China, which is a member of the WTO and accountable to its rules, is holding back on the export of 17 rare earths vital not only to hybrid cars, but also flat screen TVs, smart phones, and weapons, among other products.

“America’s workers and manufacturers are being hurt in both established and budding industrial sectors by these policies,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement. “China continues to make its export restraints more restrictive, resulting in massive distortions and harmful disruptions in supply chains for these materials throughout the global marketplace.”

CBS News reported Chinese spokesman Liu Weimin defended Chinese policies, saying it abides by WTO rules, and China has about 35 percent of rare earth deposits but accounts for more than 90 percent of global production.

“China hopes other countries can shoulder responsibility for supplies and can find alternative resources,” he said.

WTO rules stipulate that China has 10 days to formally respond and 60 days to hold talks with the U.S., E.U., and Japan. If no satisfactory resolution comes from this, WTO rules allow the complainants to request the WTO to formally investigate the allegations against China.


  • Roy_H

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have read in some time! They are complaining about China’s dominance. The only way China can help is to restrict exports, so other competing mines around the world can become profitable. When China does this they complain that it is disrupting the availability of rare earths. Dont’t complain, start up your own mines! In fact they should be thanking China for being so co-operative.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    @ Roy,

    I agree with you. We have mines and we have rare earth minerals just like Australia. The U.S. needs to stop pointing fingers/blaming others and pull up our boot straps and take control of our mines and start producing these rare earth minerals. Now I’m not advocating we just dig, dig, dig. We can do it responsibly and not ruin the environment. We just need to stop running and whining to the WTO for everything. The minute we start producing these minerals in coordination with Australia and Canada, prices will start declining and prices won’t be controlled as much by China.

  • jones22

    There is definitely so much work that needs to be done with this. I hope to see this happen in the future. SO much that you can get from all of this. orlando it services