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Tue Mar 13, 2012, 01:21 PM

Obama launches trade case against China over raw materials

Obama launches trade case against China over raw materials

By Christi Parsons

Reporting from Washington — President Obama this morning launched a challenge to China’s export restrictions on rare earth and other raw materials as part of a broader effort to free up supply lines to global high-tech industries.

The U.S. will join with the European Union and Japan in pressing the case with the World Trade Organization, in hopes that they can pressure Chinese officials to relax restrictions during preliminary consultations over the next two months.

"We've got to take control of our energy future and we cannot let that energy industry take root in some other country because they were allowed to break the rules," Obama told reporters in the White House Rose Garden.

"So our administration will bring this case against China today. We will keep working every single day to give American workers, and American businesses, a fair shot in the global economy," Obama said.

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(Washington, D.C.) – This statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard:

“President Obama and Ambassador Kirk are to be applauded for calling China on the carpet for its illegal export restraints on rare earth minerals and other products. Today’s effort initiates action on a formal trade complaint filed by the USW. The members of the USW have worked closely with the Administration to address China’s wide ranging export restraints on various raw materials and its blatant disregard of that country’s World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations.

“Chinese export restraints have a devastating impact on production and jobs here in the United States by limiting or raising the cost of these materials to our companies which use them to make products ranging from lighting to auto parts to wind energy production equipment to military goods and countless other products. Many firms faced with restricted access to these key raw materials have either begun to contract with producers in China or have moved their own operations there.

“China has used export restraints as a development strategy to advantage their companies and undermine their competitors. China restricts the export of hundreds of products. Several weeks ago, the United States was handed a decisive victory by the WTO on a case brought for similar restraints utilized by China. Rather than accept the WTO’s decision, China continues its illegal, predatory and protectionist export restraints and has expanded the number of products it applies export restraints on in the past year.

“This action supports the request made in 2010 by the USW in our comprehensive Section 301 trade petition regarding alternative and renewable energy products. Among the complaints raised by the USW, our case dealt with China’s restraints on rare earths and tungsten products. Now that the WTO has ruled against China’s policies on other products, there can be no question as to the illegality of China’s restraints on rare earths and tungsten as raised in our complaint. We support the Administration’s decision to demand that China dismantle its practices in this critical area.

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Also trade related:

On Tuesday, March 13, 2012, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4105, which clarifies that the countervailing duty law can be applied to subsidized goods from nonmarket economy countries; and the Department of Commerce can adjust antidumping duties applied to goods from nonmarket economy countries when countervailing duties are applied to the same goods.


More on the bill here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.04105:

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ProSense Mar 2012 #1

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Tue Mar 13, 2012, 01:51 PM

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