WASHINGTON (Aug. 11, 2014) — Both the United Steelworkers (USW) union and the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) hailed the U.S. victory before the World Trade Organization (WTO) in protesting China’s export restraints on rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum.
The WTO’s Appellate Body ruled Aug. 7 to uphold a dispute settlement panel’s March 2014 decision that China’s export restraints on those substances are inconsistent with its WTO obligations.
Those restraints, according to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, included export quotas, export duties and related export quota administration requirements.
“This report marks the end of the line for this dispute,” Mr. Froman said. “We have sent a clear message to our trading partners that we will be tenacious in protecting American businesses, American workers and the rule of law.”
USW International President Leo W. Gerard praised the WTO decision as another blow against Chinese protectionism.
“Once again, China has been found guilty of violating international trade rules,” Mr. Gerard said. “It’s a big win and some consolation for U.S. workers who have lost work and wages as a result of China’s cheating.”
The USW is currently pursuing antidumping and countervailing duty cases in the International Trade Commission against passenger and light truck tire imports from China. In 2009, the union won three years of high tariffs against those same imports under Section 421 of the Trade Act, which specifically covers industries hurt by upsurges in Chinese imports.
AAM President Scott Paul also expressed his pleasure with the WTO ruling.
“This ruling will help open the pressure valve that gives China control over the global price and availability of rare earths,” Mr. Paul said.
Rare earths, tungsten and molybdenum are crucial materials for a number of U.S.-made products, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines and energy-efficient lighting.