BEIJING, Jun. 3 -- China's curbing of exports of some raw materials to protect the environment and reduce its trade surplus is in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, experts say.
In its biennial review of China's trade policies, the WTO alleged Monday China may be giving its manufacturers an unfair advantage by restricting exports of some raw materials.
China uses restrictions such as prohibition, licensing, quotas and partial tax rebates to manage exports of certain resources so as to conserve resources and energy, the WTO report said.
"Usually, the WTO is concerned about import restrictions rather than export restrictions," Wednesday's Economic Information Daily quoted Tu Xinquan, vice president of China National Institute of WTO, as saying.
"The WTO report may be related to the US and European Union (EU) appeal last year to the WTO over Chinese restrictions on raw material exports," Tu said in an interview with the newspaper, Xinhua affiliate.
The WTO report only considered the importers' views and has no legal force, Tu said.
"It is neither a verdict nor a final judgment. It merely points out the problem," he added.
China has reduced its exports of energy-intensive and other environmentally destructive goods to address its trade imbalance and to protect the environment, Tu said.
China's practices are consistent with GATT obligations and Article XX as the restrictions achieve health and environmental goals, an unnamed expert at the Beijing WTO Affairs Center said.
The US and the EU have restrictions on exports, too, said Lei Yanhua, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, an affiliate of China's Ministry of Commerce.
It is absurd for the US and the EU to press China on environmental protection standards while criticizing China for restricting exports of energy-intensive and highly polluting resources and products, he said.