Julia Ya Qin; The Predicament of China's “WTO-Plus” Obligation to Eliminate Export Duties: A Commentary on the China-Raw Materials Case. Chinese Journal of International Law 2012; 11 (2): 237-246. doi: 10.1093/chinesejil/jms035
1. The recent rulings of the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization in China-Raw Materials1 have important legal and policy implications. At issue was China's use of tariffs and nontariff measures to restrict the export of nine raw materials (bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc). The complainants—the United States, the European Union and Mexico—challenged China's export restraints as violations of the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (“GATT”) and China's Protocol of Accession (the “Protocol”).2 China defended its measures by invoking GATT Article XX(g), which excuses measures relating to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources, and Article XX(b), which allows measures necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health. China's defense, however, was rejected by the WTO judiciary.