Business / Economy

WTO rare earth ruling is unfair

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-31 17:10

BEIJING - One with justice on his side doesn't always win. This is again the case for the World Trade Organization's (WTO) rare earth ruling last week.

The ruling against China's regulation of its rare earth exports has sparked disappointment and dissatisfaction among the Chinese public, as they hold China has been unfairly treated.

WTO rare earth ruling is unfair

WTO rare earth ruling is unfair

Although the decision was made in accordance with "established rules," it doesn't mean that the ruling was reasonable.

On the one hand, Western countries, equipped with the world's most sophisticated export restriction systems, can, without breaking any rules, restrict exports of high-tech products such as precision machinery and semiconductors, particularly, to China.

On the other, it is against the so-called "rules" for China to manage its exports of rare earth. China does so not to target specific countries, but out of the need to curb environmental disasters caused by excessive mining.

Isn't this inscrutable or double standards?

Yes, precision machinery, semiconductors and the like are high-tech products. But rare earth is just the kind of commodity most sought after and widely used in high-tech sectors.

They say they prohibit exports of those high-tech products to China because they can be used for military purposes. But rare earth is just the kind of key element widely used in military sectors.

The ruling was made based on rules, but rules should have kept up with the times. For new members of the WTO such as China, many of the old rules masterminded by developed economies are not fair in the first place.

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