The WTO ruled against China’s use of export restrictions to limit international access to its deposit of rare earths, 90% of which is mined in China, Financial Times reported. The restrictions imposed in 2009 caused the cost of the metals to soar in 2011. Rare earth metals are used in the production of numerous high-tech gadgets such as smartphones and cameras. Manufacturers in the EU, US and China have complained that they had to pay exorbitant amounts for the materials. China argued that it imposed export restrictions on rare earths to conserve these same materials and protect the environment.
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