WTO Asked To Probe China Export Curbs

U.S., EU and Mexico called on World Trade Organization to probe Chinese curbs on raw material exports that they say break global trade rules.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The United States, the European Union and Mexico called Wednesday on the World Trade Organization to probe Chinese curbs on raw material exports that they say break global trade rules.

In separate statements, U.S. and EU trade representatives said Chinese quotas on exports of key minerals such as bauxite, coke, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal and zinc and export charges on several raw materials distort competition and increase global prices.

EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said these were "making conditions for our companies even more difficult in this economic climate."

U.S. trade spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh said attempts to negotiate with China did not succeed and the U.S. was still open to working with China to resolve the issue.

The EU said some of these resources could not be found elsewhere and the Chinese restrictions gave Chinese chemical, aluminum and other metal industries access to cheaper materials than rivals elsewhere.

The WTO will look at the request to open a panel to investigate the restrictions on Nov. 19. It cannot force countries to comply with its rulings, but it can authorize commercial sanctions against nations continuing to break the rules. Trade cases generally take years to reach that point.

The U.S. and the EU are China's two biggest trading partners.

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