The U.S. business community has urged caution in getting too aggressive on the crackdown, arguing that China might retaliate and further strain the relationship.
China produces 95 percent of the world's rare-earth minerals and they have reduced exports as demand has risen within its borders — a move U.S. officials deem unfair.
The White House said the newly created trade enforcement agency — the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center — will be able to tackle a greater number of issues that arise, especially with China.
China has 10 days to respond to the complaint, and it must hold talks with the three nations bringing the case within 60 days. If a deal isn't reached within that time, the WTO could launch an investigation into Chinese trade practices.