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Brand Protection Welcomed All Round

On Tuesday a Chinese official stressed again that protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is a crucial part of addressing the challenges that come with rapid economic growth, saying that European Union (EU) and Japanese efforts to strengthen IPR protection in China are welcome.

At a seminar on industrial design protection involving all three countries in Beijing, Li Ling, director-general of the Ministry of Commerce's Treaty and Law Department, said that both domestic and foreign companies doing business in China were entitled to intellectual property protection.

The event was held to discuss the protection of industrial designs in China in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international standards. A decade of legislative change has put China in a much better position to administrate protection mechanisms and enforcement but much work still needs to be done.

European officials encouraged China to stay on course with initiatives to further strengthen IPR protection. "We welcome the opportunity to establish public and private partnerships involving European and Chinese governments and their industrial circles in order to beat the counterfeiters," said Paul Vandoren, director of trade at the European Commission.

He went on to say that globalization and trade liberalization are bringing WTO members and multinational companies closer together; nowhere is this more apparent than in China, the world's largest recipient of foreign direct investment.

While China has made progress in international trade cooperation, without effective nationwide anti-counterfeiting measures it will be difficult to maintain its attractiveness for foreign and domestic investors or to encourage innovation and protect consumers from safety hazards.

Japanese officials stressed the need to strengthen dialogue and technical cooperation. "We see trade cooperation between Japan and China as a long-term strategic partnership," said Makita Shimokawa, director of the Economic Integration Division of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Specialists at the seminar said that, as foreign investment continues to flow into the Chinese market, industrial designs that effectively brand a product to ensure consumer recognition must be better protected.

(China Daily October 20, 2004)

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