Election-year politics have heightened a U.S.-China trade war, and the latest move is focused on limiting China's control over rare earth minerals.
The United States, Japan and the European Union intend to bring a case at the World Trade Organization against China's rare earth minerals exports, a U.S. official confirmed yesterday (Monday).
China currently restricts exports of rare earth metals - 17 elements involved in the production of everything from batteries to light bulbs to smartphones to electric cars. Authorities say China's trade regulations damaged profits to manufacturers and the restrictions have to be removed.
This is the latest move in mounting tensions between the United States and China over trade regulations. U.S. President Barack Obama announced in his Jan. 24 State of the Union address he would create a Trade Enforcement Unit to police China's unfair trade practices. The U.S.-China trade deficit has been growing and has caused more economic friction between the countries.