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China blocks US request for WTO panel on film, music imports
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China blocked on Monday a request by the United States to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) expert panel to investigate their dispute regarding Chinese imports of movies, DVDs, music and certain publications.

The United States had complained to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that some of China's certain measures constituted restrictions to the imports of publications and audiovisual entertainment products.

The panel request was made following formal consultations between the two countries in June and July, which the United States said did not sufficiently address its concerns.

At a DSB meeting on Monday, China expressed its regret for the US request for a WTO panel on the case.

"We respect the rights of the United States ... However, we feel regret that it has requested a panel to be established concerning the present case," the Chinese delegation said in a statement.

According to Chinese trade officials, China has been sincerely and faithfully fulfilling its WTO commitments since it joined the body in 2001, including those commitments pertinent to this case.

"Currently, China annually imports and distributes dozens of revenue-sharing films as committed, half a million publications of different types and countless audiovisual products of various sources," the statement said.

"We feel that good access into China's marketplace for such products has already been provided," the statement added.

According to WTO regulations, the request for an expert panel for a specific dispute can be blocked only once. If the request is made for a second time, a panel will automatically be set up.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2007)

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