March 26, 2014

Unfair Trade

The  World Trade Organization ruled Wednesday that China broke trade rules by limiting the export of rare-earth metals in recentyears, handing a victory to the United States, Japan, and other countries that have long accused Beijing of giving Chinese firms a powerful advantage over their foreign rivals by hoarding minerals essential to the manufacture of smartphones, solar panels, and batteries for hybrid and electric cars.

In making formal a ruling that was first hinted at last fall, the WTO brushed aside China's claims that environmental concerns had forced it to restrict the sales of materials such as lithium and tungsten. The ruling will cheer lawmakers and free-trade advocates in the United States, who have for years warned that China's decision to keep many of the minerals for itself was threatening American businesses and national security by raising manufacturing costs and imperiling access to materials vital to the defense industry.

Read the full article at Foreign Policy.