EU asks for WTO panel in challenge to Chinese raw material duties  

The European Union on Wednesday asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up a dispute settlement panel to examine restrictions on Chinese exports of 12 raw materials which it says give an unfair advantage to Chinese producers.

The EU said China’s export duties and export quotas on the raw materials – antimony, chromium, cobalt, copper, ferronickel, graphite, indium, lead, magnesia, talc, tantalum, and tin – appeared to be “part of a continuing troubling industrial policy aimed at providing substantial competitive advantages for Chinese producers at the expense of producers and consumers in the EU and across the world”.

The bloc had requested consultations with China in July to try to resolve the dispute, but they were unsuccessful.

The WTO will consider the EU’s request for a dispute settlement panel on Nov. 8, the EU said.

“The EU regrets China’s unwillingness to bring its legislation concerning the export of raw materials in line with its WTO commitments and is therefore once again challenging China’s export regime,” it said in a statement.

The EU said some of the rare materials in question are among the 20 raw materials that critical to Europe’s economy.

China’s position as a leading global producer of these raw materials means its export restrictions give it the ability to affect global supply and pricing, the EU said.

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