In recent years, China has enacted export restrictions on a range of minerals and other raw materials. They include export quotas, export duties, export licenses, and other administrative actions. Although such export restrictions have already been found to be inconsistent with China's WTO obligations, the practice persists. This article advances an explanation for why this is the case. It argues that the problem lies with the lack of retrospective remedies in WTO dispute settlement. Consequently, China is able to breach its WTO obligations temporarily with minimal consequence. Although such restrictions may have negative consequences for upstream extraction firms, China is able to implement the restrictions because several upstream firms are state-owned enterprises. As a result, China is able to utilize export restrictions on minerals and other raw materials effectively to foster the development of strategic emerging industries downstream. Given existing negotiating standoffs and domestic political constraints, this article suggests that it is unlikely that any potential WTO legal reforms will be enacted any time soon to address this problem.
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