West launches rare earth trade case against China

City A.M. Reporter
The European Union, the United States and Japan have formally asked the World Trade Organisation to settle a dispute with China over Beijing's restriction on exports of raw materials, including rare earth elements critical to electronics makers.

The dispute is one of several between Beijing and the other three economic powers, as Chinese industry remolds the world economic order. It is the first case to be jointly filed by the EU, United States and Japan at the WTO.

US President Barack Obama, a Democrat, is toughening his stance on Chinese trade practices amid criticism from his Republican rivals that his administration has not been strict enough with Beijing.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the case was part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to make sure China and other countries play by global trade rules.

"America's workers and manufacturers are being hurt in both established and budding industrial sectors by these policies. China continues to make its export restraints more restrictive, resulting in massive distortions and harmful disruptions in supply chains for these materials throughout the global marketplace," Kirk said in a statement.