U.S. Brings WTO Challenge Against China Over Copper, Graphite, Other Minerals – by William Mauldin (wall Street Journal – July 13, 2016)


Complaint says China failed to eliminate export duties as agreed

The U.S. on Wednesday accused China of failing to remove export duties on certain raw materials, as agreed when it entered the World Trade Organization 15 years ago, the latest in a series of trade disputes between the two countries.

China has kept export duties ranging from 5% to 20% on antimony, cobalt, copper, graphite, lead, magnesia, talc, tantalum and tin, U.S. officials said in a new WTO case filed against Beijing.

The duties, levied on shipments out of China, have the effect of making the minerals cheaper within the country, promoting manufacturing there in areas ranging from electronics to automobiles, while making the minerals relatively more expensive outside China.

The Obama administration is highlighting the case, its 13th U.S. trade enforcement action against China at the WTO, to show Washington’s resolve in fighting what many Americans increasingly see as cheating by the country’s top trading partners.

Besides the WTO cases, the U.S. has also imposed dozens of punitive tariffs on Chinese products in recent years after complaints from American industry that the products were being dumped at unfair prices on the U.S. market or unfairly subsidized in China.

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