World Trade Organization Rules in Favor of U.S. Challenge to China's Illegal Restrictions on Rare Earth Elements

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today applauded U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman for winning a case before the World Trade Organization on China's illegal restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals. Rare earth materials are important components in many U.S. made-products, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy efficient lighting, and automobiles. Senator Stabenow was among the first to urge the Administration to address this problem and take WTO action against China on the matter.

"Today's ruling is great news for American manufacturers and researchers building the next generation of advanced technologies. China clearly violated WTO rules, and I applaud the U.S. Trade Representative for taking this enforcement action against China's illegal export restrictions of these critically important raw materials," said Sen. Stabenow. "Today's victory is a reminder of how important trade enforcement is, and we need to continue cracking down on other countries' anti-competitive practices, like currency manipulation, to help American workers and businesses compete and win in the global economy."

China's export restrictions on rare earth elements hurts American production in a wide range of industries - from hi-tech batteries for advanced technology vehicles, to smart phone batteries to important military technologies. China now controls production of more than 90% percent of the world's supply of these rare minerals-and has increasingly been using export controls to reduce the amount available on the world market. This in turn has sent costs skyrocketing for businesses that manufacture products that require rare earth elements. China also has policies to prevent foreign companies from mining rare earth elements within its borders.

Senator Stabenow has been a leading voice to stand up for U.S. businesses and workers by including enforceable measures against currency manipulation in trade agreements and ensuring a level playing field on global trade to help create jobs here at home.

For more information on today's ruling, please click here.