BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An upcoming ruling by the World Trade Organization on whether China broke global rules by limiting raw material exports will bolster European plans to challenge other curbs by Beijing, the EU's trade chief said on Tuesday.
"I believe this will considerably strengthen the position of the European Union," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told a conference of policymakers and industry executives considering growing shortages of raw materials.
"The panel decision which will be public next month will give us interesting guidelines on how to address this issue at the WTO in the future, also on the rare earths materials."
China recently imposed new export restrictions on rare earth minerals -- crucial for the production of mobile phones, fiberoptics and other high-tech goods. China controls 97 percent of world production of the minerals.
(Reporting by Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck; Editing by Rex Merrifield)