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EU launches WTO dispute against Brazil to challenge car taxes

Hundreds of Fiat's cars stand at a airport in the Oliveira city, state of Minas Gerais, November 29, 2008. REUTERS/Jaja Carneiro

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union launched a case against Brazil at the World Trade Organization on Thursday to challenge Brasilia's taxes on imports ranging from cars to computers, but insisted the dispute should have no bearing on delicate free-trade talks.

More than 10 rounds of talks with the Brazilian government have failed to resolve the issue and the European Commission, which handles trade issues for the EU's 28 members, said its only avenue was now the WTO's legal process.

EU officials said other major trading partners including the United States could join the case, but said there was no link between this row and Europe's efforts to wrap up lengthy talks with the South American trade bloc Mercosur early next year.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Charlie Dunmore)