The EU urged China to loosen restrictions on exports of the rare earths, following a WTO ruling which upheld that Beijing’s policies on raw material exports violate international trade rules, the Financial Times reported. The US and EU have so far refrained from filing a case on rare earths against China, which produces more than 90% of the world’s rare earth materials, hoping a victory in the raw materials ruling would convince Beijing to alter its rare earths policies. Ostensibly to protect the environment, Beijing imposes export restrictions on 17 rare earth elements that are necessary to manufacture high-tech products such as solar panels and mobile phones. Trade disputes over global supplies of raw materials have heated up as the financial crisis takes its toll on manufacturers and commodity prices fluctuate. In the US, lawmakers also threatened this week to bring a WTO complaint against China in the auto parts industry.