The US, EU and Japan have launched a WTO case to challenge China's restrictions on exports of rare earths materials, a suite of minerals essential for high-technology manufacturing, the Financial Times reported. China now has 60 days to negotiate a deal before the EU, US and Japan can ask the WTO to form a judicial panel, which could rule in favor of trade sanctions. State media called the move "rash and unfair," adding it "may hurt economic relations between the world's largest and second-largest economies." Critics say China's export restrictions are aimed at diverting cheap rare earths to domestic manufacturers, while Beijing claims they aim to limit production at highly polluting, illegal mines. China produces more than 90% of the world's rare earths, after volatile prices forced other producers out of the market in past decades. The case follows a WTO victory for the EU and US against China's limits on exports of other industrial raw materials.