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US Criticized for WTO Complaints over Piracy
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The US move to refer China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over intellectual property rights will hurt bilateral trade relations, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

Washington filed two complaints on Monday at the WTO over copyright piracy and restrictions on the sale of American movies, music and books, saying "inadequate protection" of US IPR in China cost its firms billions of dollars a year.

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

"Such a move (the latest at the WTO) will seriously damage cooperative relations in this sector, and will have a negative impact on bilateral trade," ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei said in a statement.

He said the decision of the US government "runs against the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries on developing bilateral trade relations", and added China expressed "great regret and strong dissatisfaction".

Wang said the Chinese government's attitude toward IPR protection has been resolute, and its achievements obvious.

"It's not a rational move for the US to file such a complaint," said Tian Lipu, commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office of China.

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

Beijing has so far not received any request from the US for consultation under the WTO mechanism, according to Wang. "China will seriously study it and make a positive response once the US makes an official request."

Washington threatened to file the complaint late last year but dropped it later saying it acknowledged the efforts by the Chinese government in establishing an IPR protection legal system.

(China Daily April 11, 2007)

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