An epic mess: ‘Exhaustible natural resources’ and the future of export restraints after the China - Rare Earths decision

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China’s export restraints on rare earths were the subject of a trade dispute with the European Union, Japan and the United States in the World Trade Organization. The decision of the WTO Appellate Body in the China — Measures related to the Exportation of Rare Earths, Tungsten and Molybdenum (‘China — Rare Earths’) case carries important consequences for developing countries that rely heavily on the resources and mining sector. Developing countries have often used export restraints to achieve varied objectives such as economic development and environmental protection. Export restraints are viewed as trade distortive and violative of the WTO norms. Therefore, developing countries face a complicated challenge on how to structure export restraint regimes that are WTO consistent and which allow domestic policy goals to be achieved. This article reviews the future of export restraints after the China — Rare Earths decision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-430
Number of pages34
JournalMelbourne Journal of International Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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