GENEVA: Japan launched a complaint against Brazil at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Thursday to challenge charges and taxes that it says illegally favour Brazilian-made goods over foreign competition, the WTO said in a statement.

Japan says Brazil imposes a higher tax burden on importers and provides export-contingent subsidies, affecting sales of Japanese cars, semiconductors, smartphones, software and other hi-tech and automation products, the WTO said.

Under WTO rules, Brazil has 60 days to settle the complaint. After that Japan could ask the WTO to adjudicate.

Japan said some of the Brazilian measures had existed for years but had ‘markedly strengthened in recent years’, the WTO said.

Few details of the Japanese complaint were immediately available, but it appeared similar to a dispute launched by the European Union in December 2013, which is currently being litigated.

A senior Brazilian official told Reuters in December that Brazil’s policies were justified because it needed ‘to defend the rights of all emerging countries to implement their own industrial policies’.Japan asked to be a third party observer in that case, since it had significant economic interests, with Brazil importing $7.7 billion of Japanese goods in 2012.

That fell to $5.9 billion in 2014.In the early 2000s, Japan accounted for more than five per cent of Brazilian imports. That dropped to 2.6 per cent in 2014.