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U.S., EU score major trade victory over China

Chinese president Hu Jintao delivers his speech during the high level forum on the tenth anniversary of China's accession to the World Trade Organization at the Great Hall of the People on December 11, 2011 in Beijing, China. The WTO just ruled against China on a fair trade deal for raw materials.

Adriene Hill: The U.S. and European Union have scored a major trade victory over China. The World Trade Organization has ruled that China must immediately drop its system of export taxes and quotas on a range of raw materials. The trade dispute was one of the most widely-watched in years.

For more we go to EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht. Good morning.

Karel de Gucht: Hello.

Hill: How will consumers feel the impact of this decision over China's raw mineral exports?

de Gucht: For Europe, it is extremely important that we have free access to raw materials because we don't have them ourselves. We have little oil, and we have almost no raw materials at all, so it's very important for our industry and for our economy to have access to raw materials in a way that is not limited by states like China. So this is an extremely important decision.

Hill: This ruling, as I understand it, doesn't apply to rare earth minerals that are so important to the tech sector. Do you expect another case against China over those rare earth supplies will be filed soon?

de Gucht: It is completely true that's it isn't about the so-called rare earth materials. But we will of course ask the Chinese that the principles that underlie this decision would apply to all raw materials, including raw earth.

And if the Chinese are not ready to accept this, we will be forced to go again to the WTO. But first of all, we will try to convince them that these are principles that they should respect for all raw materials, rare earth materials included.

Hill: EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht. Thanks so much.

de Gucht: Thank you very much.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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