China is ready to further collaborate with the EU to protect intellectual property rights (IPRs), Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai said yesterday.
China has strengthened its enforcement of IPR protection laws and launched campaigns against violations at wholesale and retail markets, Bo said in a meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.
"IPR claim centers are being set up across the country to help protect the interests of foreign companies," he said, adding that the nation is willing to strengthen cooperation with the EU in this regard.
Mandelson welcomed China's IPR progress and said protection and enforcement of IPRs are "probably the most important issue in Europe's relations with China".
Landlords of Silk Street, a popular retail market in Beijing, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on IPR protection with European fashion and sportswear brands to crack down on infringements.
According to the memorandum, if a vendor is found selling counterfeit goods, the landlord will suspend its operation; and terminate its lease if the offence is repeated.
On a separate topic, Bo criticized the European Commission's anti-dumping duties on Chinese leather shoes.
He said the commission was not justified in denying market economy status to Chinese footwear exporters; and expects fair treatment for the final ruling.
According to European media, Mandelson said that consultations with China on an auto tariff dispute are complete, and said: "I think there will be a period of reflection on China's part and further informal discussions, I hope, before we determine the next steps."
Together with the United States, the EU filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, alleging that the tariffs unfairly forced carmakers to use locally made parts in cars assembled in China.
Mandelson called the discussions with Bo "very encouraging", but urged China to further open its markets to Europe because he believes it is one way to narrow the trade imbalance between the two economies.
(China Daily June 8, 2006)