The WTO is to issue a preliminary report on Friday that concludes China has no right to impose export restrictions on nine raw materials, the Wall Street Journal reported. Many of the industrial ingredients concerned are vital in the production of steel. The restrictions, in the form of quotas, license requirements and other measures, have caused increasing friction in China’s trade relations. The case is not directly related to the sensitive rare earths’ export issue, but a victory in this raw-materials filing could lead to a new US complaint on rare earths, trade analysts said. This is because the ruling will indicate whether the WTO agrees with China’s general assertion that export restrictions are necessary to protect the environment. The final report will be released in April, at which point China can appeal. Should that the appeal fail, the country must remove the restrictions or potentially face sanctions.