Issue Date: June 29, 2009
U.S. Targets China Export Restrictions
The Obama Administration filed its first complaint with the World Trade Organization last week, accusing China of unfairly favoring its domestic chemical, steel, and other industries by restricting exports of various raw materials. "After more than two years of urging China to lift these unfair restrictions, with no result, we are filing at the WTO," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. The materials at issue are bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus, and zinc. "China's actions have had the effect of subsidizing Chinese producers by allowing them to pay a lower price for those materials than U.S. companies," said Frank Vargo, vice president for international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers. Kirk said the U.S. is formally requesting consultations with Beijing as a first step. The next step would be to request that a WTO panel hear the complaint, a process that could take several years.
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