China has appealed a World Trade Organisation ruling against its export policies on raw materials, the Ministry of Commerce said, in a move which could have implications for its rare earth exports.
In July, a WTO legal panel dismissed China's claim that its system of export duties and quotas on raw materials – used in the production of steel, electronics and medicines – served to protect its environment and scarce resources.
The WTO's July ruling applies to elements including bauxite, coking coal, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus and zinc, all key industrial materials.
That ruling was a victory for the United States, the European Union and Mexico, which took China to the WTO in 2009, saying export restrictions on these raw materials discriminated against foreign manufacturers and gave an unfair advantage to domestic producers.
The decision was also seen as a potential precedent against China's stance on its exports of 17 rare earth minerals, of which China produces about 97% of the world's supplies.
China has cut exports of rare earths to the dismay of importers, which use the minerals in producing high-tech products and defence applications.
The WTO appellate body is required to make a decision within three months of China's appeal.
EURACTIV with Reuters