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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

WTO ruling against China is unfair

By Mei Xinyu (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:28, February 03, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The case of the United States, Europe and Mexico accusing China of restraining its export of raw materials, which has lasted two and a half years, recently received the final ruling by the WTO. Although China's appeals on several issues were supported and some judgments previously made by the panel of experts were corrected, China actually still lost this case in general. The final ruling by the WTO is actually unfair in many aspects.

It is unfair because every country has the permanent and full right to dispose its own natural resources and carry out any economic activity. Restraining the export of rare resources, especially the export of strategic resources, is China's inherent right.

The banner "freedom of trade" cannot infringe the fundamental right of any country and the people of any country. Since China implements same export quota and tariff towards all countries equally and does not favor one more than anther, the action made by the United States and European Union is actually equal to breaking the bottom line of the fundamental rules of international communities and trampling on the fundamental rights of a country.

The ruling is unfair because the WTO, which allows environmental protection as a defense, should allow its member states to protect the environment in the most effective way. Despite all other measures the WTO suggests, export controls are the most effective measure for China to reduce the output of high-consumption and high-pollution products.

First, most of the demand for these products comes from abroad, and China cannot sacrifice its environment and the interests of posterity to benefit other countries. Second, export controls are the cheapest yet most efficient way to reduce the output of these products.

The ruling is unfair because it is unlikely to exert much impact on related raw materials markets. Overall, China is poor in mineral resources, and does not really have much left to sell even if export restrictions are lifted.

In fact, China's restrictions on raw material exports are dwarfed by those of the United States and Europe, which makes the WTO's ruling even more unfair. It should be noted that the United States and Europe have the broadest and strictest export controls in the world. The United States has a long-established broad, strict, and rigid export control system against China.

If China's restrictions on exports of its strategic resources violate the WTO rules, then what about U.S. and European export controls? Have they ever thought that China and other countries may use this case to sue them over export controls?

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