The United States (U.S.) and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday filed complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China's restrictions on exports of some industrial raw materials.
The materials at issue include coke, bauxite, fluorspar, magnesium, silicon metal and zinc, according to the complaints sent to the Geneva-based WTO.
The U.S. and the EU claim that China's export restrictions create unfair advantages for Chinese industries and distort world competition, thus violating WTO regulations.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce defended China's export policies, saying they are consistent with WTO rules.
The chief aim of China's export policies is to protect the environment and conserve natural resources, said an official with the Ministry of Commerce.
China has been keeping communication and contact with the U.S. and the EU over China's policy on raw material exports, the official said,
adding that China will properly deal with the consultation request in accordance with WTO dispute settlement procedures.
According to the procedures, China, the U.S. and the EU will have 60 days to try to resolve their dispute through consultations. If consultations fail, the U.S. and the EU could ask for a WTO panel to investigate and rule on this dispute.