China implicated in World Trade Organization dispute over rare earth refining

By Phillip Yu

In China, radioactive leaks from rare earth refining have prompted the Chinese government to seize control of unregulated and illegal mining all over the country. While China has already poured billions of dollars into cleaning up the damage, the situation has escalated to an international scale, with a World Trade Organization panel in Geneva soon to issue a critical draft report.

The United States, the European Union, and Japan have challenged China’s taxes and quotas on exports of rare earth metals, noting that while China has been slowly increasing its profit margins, China has done little to limit rare earth consumption within its own borders.

A final decision by the World Trade Organization is expected on November 21, 2013.