Feeds

WTO to probe China rare earth stranglehold claims

Better late than never

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The World Trade Organisation has finally agreed to investigate claims by the US, EU and Japan that China is unfairly strangling rare earth exports in order to favour its domestic manufacturing industry.

The three complained back in March that China was pushing up prices and restricting exports of the minerals – which are essential to the production of a range of hi-tech goods – via tougher export quotas, increased duties and minimum export price systems.

The WTO said it has now decided to set up a panel on its Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to discuss China’s export of rare earths, specifically tungsten and molybdenum.

The proceedings are likely to take several months, with several WTO members including Vietnam, Norway, Oman, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and India all announcing they wanted to exercise “third-party rights” – meaning they will be able to have a say in proceedings.

In a statement announcing its decision, the WTO explained China’s stance – repeating the explanation that its rare earth strategy is aimed at “protecting natural resources and achieving sustainable economic development”.

“China said it has no intention of protecting domestic industry through means that would distort trade,” the WTO continued.

China argues that although it produces over 90 per cent of the world’s rare earths, it has barely a third of global reserves.

The outcome of the WTO investigation may be a moot point given that prices of the not-so-rare minerals have dropped significantly over the past year.

In the meantime, other countries are stockpiling supplies and pushing ahead with their own mining programs.

Mountain Pass mine in California is gearing up for full production soon while Japan and Vietnam are set to dig for the deposits in the area of Lai Chau to the north-west of Hanoi. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.