China has recently introduced restrictions – as imposition of duties and quotas – on export of raw materials necessary for European industry. Since European Commission believes that such measures are against norms regulating international commerce – as Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner, affirms – it has decided to take legal action against China in the context of the dispute resolution mechanism established within the World Trade Organization (“WTO”).
It is not the first time that EU acts against China for violation of WTO rules, in fact two other procedures were successfully pursued on 2012 and 2014. The procedure at WTO requests a first formal consultation that will start simultaneously with one similar initiated by US. Within 60 days, in absence of any type of agreement, the Union may ask WTO to set up a panel deciding on compatibility of Chinese measures.
The raw materials object of the measures adopted by China include cobalt, graphite, chromium, magnesia, antimony, indium, copper, lead, tantalum, talcum and tin; in particular the first 6 were indicate on 2013 among the 20 raw materials critical to Europe’s economy and essential to maintaining and improving our quality of life.
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