U.S. Files Trade Complaint vs. China

World Trade Organization action cites Chinese limits on rare-earth exports.

The U.S. will file a complaint at the World Trade Organization today over Chinese limits on exports of rare earths used in high-tech products, deepening a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

President Barack Obama will personally announce the action to join Japan and the European Union in requesting consultations with China at the Geneva-based trade arbiter over rare-earths shipments, an administration official said yesterday in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the White House announcement.

Japan Decides

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the government is considering bringing China to the WTO. Fujimura, speaking to reporters today in Tokyo, said no decision has yet been made. An EU official confirmed the bloc will be part of the joint complaint.

‘Rash’

China’s official Xinhua News Agency ran a commentary today saying the “rash and unfair” U.S. move risks triggering a backlash from China and is likely to hurt trade ties. The commentary, signed by a writer identified as Yu Zhixiao, said China’s “excessive exploitation” of rare earths in the past resulted in environmental damage and its decision to implement quotas was reasonable.

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