China has told the United States that it plans to formally launch an investigation that could lead to new import duties on autos and sports utility vehicles made by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, a U.S. industry official said on Wednesday.

The documents containing the charges were presented by China to the U.S. government this week, but have not yet been translated. Therefore we are not in a position to comment on the matter at this time, Steve Collins, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, told Reuters.

He estimated the traditional Big Three U.S. automakers export about 9,000 vehicles to China.

China first said it would bring the case last month after President Barack Obama announced his decision to impose a 35-percent tariff on Chinese-made tires.

Collins said he expected China to formally launch the anti-dumping and countervailing-duty investigation next week.

That would be after high-level U.S.-China trade talks now taking place in Hangzhou and shortly before Obama's visit to China in November.

The United States has provided tens of billions of dollars of government assistance to keep GM and Chrysler operating. However, Ford has prided itself on not taking government aid.