Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations

Switzer S, Gerber L, Sindico F. Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations. Laws. 2015; 4(3):617-637

21 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2015

See all articles by Stephanie Switzer

Stephanie Switzer

University of Strathclyde - School of Law

Leonardus Gerber

University of Pretoria - Faculty of Law

Francesco Sindico

University of Strathclyde - School of Law

Date Written: September 22, 2015

Abstract

In the past few years, the Chinese government opted to restrict the export of selected minerals on environmental and health grounds, subsequently leading to an uproar in countries and regions that rely heavily on imports from China to develop their renewable industry sector. This paper places the focus on the law and policy of the Chinese export restrictions of critical minerals, and its implications for the global renewables energy industry. The paper critically assesses how such export restrictions have been dealt with under the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Drawing on this WTO jurisprudence, we posit that litigation on export restrictions of the kind imposed by China poses a threat to the legitimacy of the WTO. We therefore conclude by exploring whether there are any alternatives to litigation as a means to deal with countries choosing to impose mineral export restrictions.

Keywords: climate change, WTO, renewables, minerals, exports, rare earth elements, China

Suggested Citation

Switzer, Stephanie and Gerber, Leonardus and Sindico, Francesco, Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations (September 22, 2015). Switzer S, Gerber L, Sindico F. Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations. Laws. 2015; 4(3):617-637, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2666442

Stephanie Switzer

University of Strathclyde - School of Law ( email )

Lord Hope Building
John Anderson Campus 141 St. James' Rd
Glasgow G4 0LT, Scotland G4 0LT
United Kingdom

Leonardus Gerber

University of Pretoria - Faculty of Law ( email )

Lynnwood Road
Pretoria, Gauteng 5100
South Africa

Francesco Sindico (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde - School of Law ( email )

Lord Hope Building
John Anderson Campus 141 St. James' Rd
Glasgow G4 0LT, Scotland G4 0LT
United Kingdom

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