Rep. Mike Coffman Demands Action on China’s Illegal Trade Practices
Rep. Mike Coffman released the following statement:
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk this week demanding he file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against China’s unfair trade policy that limits exports of rare earth elements. Twenty-eight Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives joined him in signing his letter.
“Rare earths are the key to technological innovation and the growth of green energy jobs. They are also critical to U.S. national security. Currently, the world is nearly 100 percent reliant on Chinese exports for these vital materials. However, China has been reducing its export quotas every year since 2006, and has announced a further 11 percent reduction for 2011,” Coffman wrote in his letter.Coffman drafted his letter after learning about a recent confidential WTO report which concludes that it is illegal for China to impose trade restrictions on various raw materials. The WTO ruling was a response to a complaint filed in 2009 by the U.S., Mexico, and the European Union against China’s export restrictions on raw materials vital for making steel and aluminum. In his letter, Coffman argues that the conclusion of the 2009 complaint suggests the WTO would take the same action against China regarding its trade policy on the 17 metals and oxides known as rare earth elements.
“A disruption in supply of rare earths could jeopardize national security, hinder our long-term efforts to achieve domestic energy security, and damage our world-leading high tech industries. While our nation must act to correct our domestic rare earth supply chain problem, we must also recognize that the lack of a level playing field for trade policy is harmful,” stated Coffman in his letter.
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