The European Union has asked the World Trade Organisation to rule in a dispute over Chinese anti-dumping duties on imports of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes.

The EU lodged a complaint at the WTO over the duties in June and consultations were held in July but they did not resolve the dispute.

The EU is now asking the WTO to set up a panel to rule on the case.

The case is one of a series of high-profile trade disputes that have broken out between China and the 28-nation EU, led by a quarrel over alleged dumping of Chinese solar panels in Europe that was defused in July.

"The EU continues its fight against unjustified Chinese trade defence measures, which do not comply with WTO rules and often seem to be motivated by retaliation," EU trade spokesman John Clancy said in a statement.

EU exports to China of high-performance stainless steel seamless tubes, used in power plants, were worth around €90 million in 2009, but fell to under €20 million around the time that China imposed definitive anti-dumping duties in November 2012, the EU says.

Since then, it said the duties of 9.7% to 11.1% imposed on imports of steel tubes from the EU were significantly hampering access to the Chinese market.