China on Sunday established a rare earth industry association in a bid to clean up an industry that has come under fire internationally for violating trade rules, Reuters reported, quoting state media. Su Bo, vice minister of industry and information technology, said the association aims to clean up the rare earth industry by kicking out small smelters, accelerating the formation of large enterprises and strengthening environmental protection. The association consists of 155 members, including industry giants such as Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (600111.SH) and China Minmetals. It will report to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which manages the nation’s rare earth export quota, and help Chinese companies to handle trade frictions and disputes. China accounts for almost 97% of world output of the 17 rare earth metals crucial for the defense and an array of high-tech goods.