FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European auto industry fears China could impose retaliatory trade duties on luxury cars imported from the European Union, should the EU Commission not back down over unfair trade practices in China.

"If there is not an improvement in the political climate, if it becomes a real trade war (...) if that is going to be the position and the strategy of the EU, then I think the Chinese will retaliate for sure," said a spokesperson for the European auto industry association ACEA on Friday.

According to the ACEA, an unknown person or persons filed an anti-dumping complaint with China's Ministry of Commerce that focuses on cars with engine displacements of 2 liters and more built in the EU and exported to the People's Republic.

It expects preliminary investigations will begin in early July at the latest.

After several weeks it could already disclose that an economic injury to the Chinese car industry from EU anti-dumping practices has been found and impose provisional duties linked to the amount of damage done, ACEA said.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Christoph Steitz)

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