WTO Upholds ‘Rare Earth’ Ruling Against China

BERLIN (AP) -

The World Trade Organization on Thursday upheld a ruling that China violated international trade rules with restrictions on the export of “rare earths,” the minerals used in mobile phones, hybrid cars, flat-screen monitors and other high-tech products.

In March, the WTO dispute-settlement panel found that China’s restrictions breach WTO rules. Its ruling followed complaints by the United States, the European Union and Japan.

The Geneva-based WTO’s appellate panel rejected Beijing’s appeal, saying it hasn’t “demonstrated that the export quotas that China applies to various forms of rare earths … are justified.”

China accounts for more than 90 percent of production of rare-earth minerals. In 2009, it alarmed foreign companies by limiting rare-earth exports in an attempt to boost its domestic manufacturing base.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that Thursday’s decision “marks the end of the line” for the rare-earths dispute.

“By upholding rules on fair access to raw materials, this decision is a win not only for the United Sates, but also for every nation that respects the principles of openness and fairness,” Froman said.