EU takes China to WTO over export curbs BRUSSELS: The European Union on Tuesday followed the United States to launch a new legal challenge at the World Trade Organisation over duties and quotas China imposes on its raw materials exports.
The EU said China is violating WTO rules with restrictions on exports of key materials such as graphite, cobalt, chromium and magnesia which help Chinese industry at the expense of European companies and consumers.
“We cannot sit on our hands seeing our producers and consumers being hit by unfair trading practices,” the EU’s top trade official Cecilia Malmstroem said in a statement.
The EU launched similar successful actions against China in 2012 and 2014 over rare earths and raw materials like bauxite, zinc and coke.
The new challenge targets export restrictions on graphite, cobalt, copper, lead, chromium, magnesia, talcum, tantalum, tin, antimony and indium.
“The past two WTO rulings on Chinese export restrictions have been crystal clear — these measures are against international trade rules,” Malmstroem said.
“As we do not see China advancing to remove them all, we must take legal action,” she added.
In filing a similar action last week before the WTO, the US government said that when China joined the WTO in 2001, it agreed to eliminate such export duties but had failed to follow through on the commitment.
The US action covered nine of the 11 materials mentioned in the EU action, excluding chromium and indium.
These raw materials are essential for a broad range of industry, from aerospace and car manufacturing to electronics and chemicals.