Experts welcome China's WTO appeal

Updated: 2011-09-02 09:20

By Li Jiabao and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Experts welcomed China's appeal of a ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming that the nation imposed restrictions on exports of nine raw materials, saying the move helps protect local industry.

They also said the nation is becoming more active in fighting back against growing trade remedy cases targeting China, by leveraging the WTO rules and regulations.

China filed an appeal to the WTO to overturn parts of the trade organization's ruling over the country's export limits on nine raw materials including coke, zinc and magnesium, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

On July 5, a WTO panel dismissed China's claim that its export duties and quotas on nine raw materials, all key industrial materials in the production of steel, electronics and medicines, served to protect its environment and scarce resources.

Ren Yifeng, standing deputy secretary-general of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, said that the appeal was a good thing.

"I strongly support the appeal, though it's hard to say whether China will win it or not," he said.

Sang Baichuan, dean of the Institute of International Business of the University of International Business and Economics, also agreed that China "must appeal".

The WTO dispute settlement body will give a verdict on the appeal in three months.

"But it could take as long as two years for the WTO to review the appeals and make a final decision. That period leaves enough time for China's industries and companies to make industrial adjustment and restructuring."

In June 2009, the United States, the European Union and Mexico took China to the WTO, claiming that the country's export restrictions on the nine raw materials gave an unfair advantage to domestic producers and raised prices on the global market.

However, Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, told a news conference on Aug 24 that China's regulations on the raw materials "do not violate world trade rules".

In the past 10 years, China has initiated eight cases against other nations, while WTO members launched 13 targeting China, said Li Chenggang, head of the department of treaty and law of the Ministry of Commerce, at a forum on the WTO.

"China has intensively responded and initiated trade remedy cases in the past 10 years, which is widely recognized," Ren said.



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