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China dismisses EU, U.S. claims of unfair trade policies


BEIJING, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - China rejected on Wednesday allegations from the EU and United States that it had violated export regulations on raw materials, but confirmed it would seek consultations on the issue to avoid a trade row.

China's Ministry of Commerce said on its website that its policies were in line with WTO rules, and that restrictions were aimed at protecting the environment and natural resources.

However, EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Tuesday: "The Chinese restrictions on raw materials distort competition and increase global prices, making things even more difficult for our companies in this economic downturn."

The charges concern 10 raw materials, including bauxite, magnesium, silicon, coke and zinc. Washington says that China had pledged to remove export duties in 2001 after it joined the WTO.

Trade ties between Washington and China have been tense for some time. Last September Beijing lifted a ban on U.S. poultry imports - both sides had imposed poultry bans in 2004 following bird flu outbreaks. However, the U.S. refused to reciprocate and resume Chinese poultry imports, citing health issues in China.

If the trade consultations with Beijing fail, the complaint will be sent to a WTO panel for a decision.

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