A Rare-Earths Showdown Looms

WTO litigation over China’s export limits is inevitable unless Beijing comes to its senses.

James Bacchus
The Wall Street Journal

A strong legal case can be made that Chinese restrictions on exports of rare-earth elements violate world trade rules. Japan has said publicly that the Chinese are violating World Trade Organization rules. Germany is urging the European Union to act. The United States has refused to rule out doing so. But who ultimately will be willing to bring that case against China in the WTO, and when? And can China itself afford to let things go that far?

The legal issues involved are fairly clear-cut. China has about half of the world’s deposits and accounts for about 93% of the …

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