Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, the causal agent of black rot disease, depends on its type III secretion system (TTSS) to infect cruciferous plants, including Brassica oleracea, B. napus and Arabidopsis. Previous studies on the Arabidopsis–Pseudomonas syringae model pathosystem have indicated that a major function of TTSS from virulent bacteria is to suppress host defences triggered by pathogen-associated molecular patterns. Similar analyses have not been made for the Arabidopsis–X. campestris pv. campestris pathosystem. In this study, we report that X. campestris pv. campestris strain 8004, which is modestly pathogenic on Arabidopsis, induces strong defence responses in Arabidopsis in a TTSS-dependent manner. Furthermore, the induction of defence responses and disease resistance to X. campestris pv. campestris strain 8004 requires NDR1 (NON-RACE-SPECIFIC DISEASE RESISTANCE1), RAR1 (required for Mla12 resistance) and SGT1b (suppressor of G2 allele of skp1), suggesting that effector-triggered immunity plays a large role in resistance to this strain. Consistent with this notion, AvrXccC, an X. campestris pv. campestris TTSS effector protein, induces PR1 expression and confers resistance in Arabidopsis in a RAR1- and SGT1b-dependent manner. In rar1 and sgt1b mutants, AvrXccC acts as a virulence factor, presumably because of impaired resistance gene function.