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Overseas Gangs 'Encouraging Piracy'
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Overseas criminal gangs are to blame for some Chinese companies producing counterfeit products, according a senior official.

The increase in made-in-China pirated and counterfeit products found around the world in recent years are partly because of ignorance of domestic firms, said Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office.

"Lacking awareness of intellectual property (IP) protection, many Chinese enterprises produce strictly according to the orders they receive from overseas," he said. "Some foreign criminal groups take advantage of this weakness and export to overseas markets."

Tian explained some Chinese manufacturers focus mainly on increasing quality and reducing costs to sharpen their competitive edge in the international market - but they seldom care about what label is attached to the products they make or whether the technology is protected by IP-related laws.

Some major trade partners, including the United States, complain that pirated goods made in China have spread around the world and cost their firms billions of dollars a year.

Tian called for international collaboration to crack down on IP piracy of this kind, which he described as an international phenomenon.

As for China's ongoing IP disputes with the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over copyright piracy and restrictions on the sale of American movies, music and books in China, Tian said Washington "should drop the charges" as they are groundless.

He said the two sides are in consultation but declined to reveal what progress has been made.

It is the third time that the United States has taken China to the global trade body in about a year, after cases against Beijing's regulations on imports of auto spare parts and industrial subsidies.

The Chinese government criticized Washington for filing the complaints at the WTO, saying the move will hurt bilateral trade relations.

Tian said the United States ignored the Chinese government's massive efforts and achievements in strengthening IPR protection and tightening enforcement of its copyright laws.

(China Daily July 4, 2007)

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