WTO panel to rule on US, China raw materials dispute
GENEVA – The World Trade Organisation said Tuesday it will set up a panel to resolve an escalating dispute between the United States and China over Beijing’s export barriers for raw materials.
The US first requested arbitration at the WTO last month, questioning China’s commitment to the WTO’s goal of establishing a level-playing field in global trade
Washington claims that China’s export duties, export quotas and limitations placed on businesses that want to export raw materials have hurt US businesses.
The raw materials concerned in the dispute range from cobalt to copper and tin and China is facing a similar spat with the European Union.
The US first requested arbitration at the WTO last month, with the country’s trade representative Michael Froman questioning China’s commitment to the WTO’s goal of establishing a level-playing field in global trade.
China rejected the first US request for arbitration. WTO rules state that a second request for arbitration automatically triggers the creation of a panel by the organisation’s Dispute Settlement Body.
Froman’s office has insisted that Chinese raw materials are crucial to sustaining key American industries.
Citing an example, the trade representative’s office noted that Indium, used for the thin-film coating on flat-panel screens, helps drive a $10.1 billion (9.1 billion euros) computer equipment industry that employs 21,000 Americans.