Japan, the United States and the European Union will negotiate with China later this month over the issue in Geneva, Switzerland.
Before formally taking on a case for adjudication, the World Trade Organization mandates the parties in a trade dispute try to resolve their issue on their own.
China is expected to deny it is restricting rare earth exports by saying it has cut back on exports for environmental concerns connected to rare earth mining.
So-called rare earths are minerals that have become critical to a number of industries, including electronics, wind turbines and automobiles.
The United States contends China manipulates the market to stifle competition and force companies to move operations to China.