This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and External Relations Division to help public understanding about developments in WTO disputes. It is not a legal interpretation of the issues, and it is not intended as a complete account of the issues. These can be found in the reports themselves and in the minutes of the Dispute Settlement Body’s meetings.
DS508: China — Export Duties on Certain Raw Materials
The United States, citing two prior DSB findings against China’s export restrictions on raw materials, said that China continued to maintain export restrictions on other raw materials. The US said that these materials were critical inputs to a range of industries in the US and in other members. The US said the export restraints included export duties, export quotas, and restrictions on the rights of enterprises seeking to export. The export restraints appeared to be inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and China’s Protocol of Accession. The US thus requested the DSB to establish a panel to examine the matter.
China said it was disappointed with the US decision to request the establishment of a panel after it had engaged in sincere consultations with the US. China reiterated its steadfast stance on respecting WTO rules and abiding by its accession commitments. China said that its policies were integral components of measures taken to promote the management of exhaustible natural resources and protect the environment with the purpose of achieving sustainable development. On 31 October 2016, China published its Total Export Quotas of Industrial Products and Agricultural Products of 2017; it regretted that the US had not carefully reviewed this before requesting a panel.
DS509: China — Duties and other Measures concerning the Exportation of Certain Raw Materials
The European Union said it regretted that it had to request the establishment of a panel. It noted that the DSB had twice found China’s export restrictions on raw materials to be inconsistent with its WTO obligations and requested China to come into compliance. The EU was thus disappointed with China’s continued use of export restrictions. The EU considered that China’s export restraints undermined core WTO principles as they discriminated against foreign users of raw materials and provided an unfair advantage to Chinese firms. This affected the global supply and price of raw materials. They also created pressure on foreign producers to move their operations, jobs and technologies to China. As consultations had not led to a conclusion, the EU requested the establishment of a panel.
China made a statement similar to its statement, above, in DS508. China said it was not in a position to accept the establishment of a panel.
The United States said it shared the EU’s concerns that China’s export restrictions were inconsistent with WTO rules. The US recognized that China had exercised its right to block the establishment of a panel to consider the EU’s complaint; but said it would have been more efficient for China to have accepted the establishment of a single panel — such as had occurred in other disputes. The US looked forward to the establishment of a panel so that both the US’ and EU’s complaints could move forward together.