Brown Applauds WTO Ruling, Calls for Action on Rare Earth Hoarding That Hurts Ohio Manufacturers

Brown Has Called on USTR Kirk to Initiate a WTO Case on China’s Rare Earth Hoarding

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today applauded a ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) finding that China’s export restrictions on raw materials are in violation of WTO rules, and renewed his call to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to protect Ohio manufacturing jobs by initiating a WTO case on the country’s hoarding of rare earth materials. According to the USTR, the raw materials at issue include various forms of bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus, and zinc.

“Today the World Trade Organization confirmed the worst-kept secret in Beijing—that China hoards raw materials in order to gain yet another advantage over American manufacturers,” Brown said. “Today’s ruling on raw materials should give the Administration confidence to move forward with a case on rare earths—minerals essential to a wide range of products and mined for the most part in China alone.

“In addition to manipulating its currency and evading tariffs, China’s hoarding of rare earths is yet another unfair and illegal violation of international trade laws that puts Ohio manufacturers at a disadvantage,” Brown continued. “That’s why Ambassador Kirk should initiate a WTO case against China and hold it accountable for its actions.”

Brown, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), recently called on the Obama Administration’s top trade advisor, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, to protect Ohio manufacturers by initiating a WTO case on China’s hoarding of rare earth materials. Ohio and American manufacturers rely on rare earth materials for the production of a number of products, including wind turbines, lighting, and electronics. China currently accounts for 97 percent of the world’s supply of these materials, and have imposed quotas and heavy tariffs on their export, putting American manufacturers at a severe disadvantage.  As a result, China’s policy unfairly incentivizes American manufacturers to move production to China.

GrafTech International Chairman and CEO Craig Shular said: “As an Ohio based manufacturing company with roughly 80% of our sales outside of the United States, GrafTech has a keen interest in protecting our ability to compete aggressively in the global marketplace. Obtaining key raw materials at a reasonable cost is critical to our mission.”

A copy of that letter can be seen here.

###