The United States won a dispute against China at the World Trade Organization on Friday, when a panel of adjudicators found China had broken the WTO rules on at least 16 of 21 counts brought up in the U.S. complaint.

"This decision sends a clear message that the Obama Administration can fight and win for American farmers, businesses, and workers in the global trading system, ensuring that America gets the benefit of the rules and market access we have negotiated in our international trade agreements," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in an email from his office.

The U.S. complaint, raised in September 2011, concerned China's duties on U.S. exports of chicken broiler products. It was widely seen as one of a string of tit-for-tat trade disputes and followed a U.S. ban on imports of Chinese cooked chicken.

The United States had told the WTO it was the largest exporter of broiler products to China before the duties were imposed, but its exports subsequently fell by nearly 90 percent.

The U.S. complaint cited damage done to exporters like Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson Foods Inc and Keystone, a brand held by Brazil's Marfrig Alimentos SA.

China justified its duties by saying U.S. imports were unfairly subsidised and dumped on the Chinese market, causing material injury to China's domestic industry.

China's Ministry of Commerce did not immediately comment on the WTO ruling. China can appeal the ruling within 60 days.