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Pure Business, Law Enforcement or Sheer Politics? The EU’s WTO Complaints against Chinese Export Restrictions on Raw Materials. EU Diplomacy Paper 06/2013

Woitzik, Mirko (2013) Pure Business, Law Enforcement or Sheer Politics? The EU’s WTO Complaints against Chinese Export Restrictions on Raw Materials. EU Diplomacy Paper 06/2013. [Policy Paper]

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    Abstract

    In light of the growing international competition among states and globally operating companies for limited natural resources, export restrictions on raw materials have become a popular means for governments to strive for various goals, including industrial development, natural resource conservation and environmental protection. For instance, China as a major supplier of many raw materials has been using its powerful position to both economic and political ends. The European Union (EU), alongside economic heavyweights such as the US, Japan and Mexico, launched two high-profile cases against such export restrictions by China at the WTO in 2009 and 2012. Against this background, this paper analyses the EU’s motivations in the initiation of trade disputes on export restrictions at WTO, particularly focusing on the two cases with China. It argues that the EU's WTO complaints against export restrictions on raw materials are to a large extent motivated by its economic and systemic interests rather than political interests. The EU is more likely to launch a WTO complaint, the stronger the potential and actual impact on its economy, the more ambiguous the WTO rules and the stronger the internal or external lobbying by member states or companies. This argumentation is based on the analysis of pertinent factors such as the economic impact, the ambiguity of WTO law on export restrictions and the pressure by individual member states on the EU as well as the role of joint complaints at the WTO and political considerations influencing the EU’s decision-making process.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Other international institutions > GATT/WTO
    Countries > China
    EU policies and themes > External relations > international trade
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > EU Diplomacy Paper
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: Bulgarian
    Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 13:24
    Number of Pages: 35
    Last Modified: 02 Oct 2013 13:24
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/44511

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