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China Faces Challenge in Defending Export Curbs on Rare Earths

China may be vulnerable in seeking to defend its restraints on the export of rare earths or other commodities because of conditions it accepted when joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, a former WTO judge said.

While the trade arbiter’s rules let nations tax exports and safeguard natural resources, China signed pledges that it would only tax or limit exports from a list of specific raw materials, said James Bacchus, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Washington. WTO rules prohibit export quotas, he said.