The European Union, the US and Japan have jointly asked the World Trade Organization to rule in a protracted trade dispute with Argentina. They criticize what they believe are unfair import restrictions. The European Union on Thursday appealed for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rule in a spat with Argentina over import restrictions. The move was supported by similar complaints from the US and Japan. \"Argentina\'s import restrictions violate international trade rules and harm EU exports,\" EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said in a statement. He noted that earlier WTO consultations with Argentina had not brought any positive solution. De Gucht emphasized Thursday\'s move was \"the last resort to see Argentina\'s unfair trade practices lifted and free and fair trade reestablished.\" The European Commission said Argentina\'s protectionist import licensing procedures potentially affected all EU exports to that country, with shipments reaching a volume of 8.3 billion euros ($10.9 billion) in 2011. Tit for tat? In a separate complaint, the US stated that Argentina\'s rules \"included the broad use of non-transparent and discretionary import licensing requirements that had the effect of unfairly restricting US exports.\" Argentinawas accused of requiring US importers to agree to undertake burdensome trade balancing commitments in exchange for authorization to import goods and services. Earlier this week, Argentina for its part filed WTO complaints charging the US with trade barriers against its beef and lemons exports, and the EU and Spain in particular with protectionist measures against its biodiesel.