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The US, Canada and the European Union are set to file a joint complaint with the World Trade Organisation against China's import tariffs on auto parts.

The complaint could be filed as soon as this week, The Wall Street Journal said on its website, citing people familiar with the matter.

It would mark the first time the Western allies have teamed up to seek a formal investigation by the global trade body in a dispute with China.

In negotiations with the governments, China has refused to change its protectionist policy, which charges an average 25 per cent levy on imported auto parts. That leaves formal complaint as a last recourse at the WTO for the US, Canada and the EU.

The US exported only about $US540 million ($A720.4 million) of auto parts to China last year, a market estimated at $US19 billion ($A25.3 billion), the newspaper said.

The EU says its auto-parts exports to China are valued at about three billion euro ($A5.08 billion).

The complaint could result in punitive special tariffs being imposed on Beijing.
 

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don't understand how they get the average of 25% - the tariffs are different for different parts. Many have much lower tariffs. High tariff items are generally the low tech ones, and in those it would be hard for an import part to compete on price anyway.
 
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