China's rare earths export quotas: Out of the China-Raw Materials gate, but past the WTO's finish line?

Han-Wei Liu, John Maughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Several recent studies have discussed the ramifications of the China – Raw
Materials case for China’s rare earths. However, none of these studies has
conducted a thorough investigation of China’s current export quota regime
for rare earths or how it might stand up under WTO rules, assuming that it
would be treated the same. This article makes no such assumption, investigating
China’s export quota regime for rare earths as it stands in early June
2012. The regime is somewhat improved over that applied during the Raw
Materials case and could allow a more favourable WTO ruling. However, if
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) disciplines are interpreted
narrowly, as in China – Raw Materials, this article finds that the current
regime still falls short of certain GATT exceptions. This article informs
future analyses of China’s export quota regime for rare earths. Beyond the
case of China, it also invites discussion on the appropriate amount of ‘policy
space’ WTO Members should enjoy for imposing export quotas under the
relevant GATT disciplines for resource conservation and environmental
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-1005
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of International Economic Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

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