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US seeks WTO panel on China trade barriers for raw materials
[WASHINGTON] The United States on Thursday said it was calling for a World Trade Organization arbitration panel to resolve an escalating trade dispute on Chinese export barriers for raw materials.
US Trade Representative Michael Froman this year has challenged Chinese export duties and quotas for raw materials, including lead, tin, graphite, antimony, chromium and copper, saying they unfairly disadvantage American workers and industry and violate Beijing's commitments to the WTO.
In July, Mr Froman's office took the initial step of calling for consultations with China to resolve the matter. Thursday's announcement seeking arbitration indicated such consultations had not been succesful.
"We will aggressively pursue this challenge on behalf of US steelworkers, auto workers, aerospace workers and the many Americans whose businesses, jobs and livelihoods depend on the strength of these and other industries," Mr Froman said in a statement.
Ninety per cent of US-consumed indium, one of the raw materials, is used for the thin-film coating on flat-panel screens, part of a US$10.1 billion computer equipment industry that employs 21,000 Americans, the USTR office said.