The visiting EU Commissioner responsible for taxation and
customs, Laszio Kovacs, reiterated in Beijing on Monday that a
concrete Action Plan on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will be
worked out between China and the European Union (EU).
"The Action Plan will include specific commitments for both
parties to strengthen cooperation on protecting IPR, with details
still under discussion," Kovacs told a press conference in
Kovacs was in Beijing to attend the 3rd Joint Customs
Cooperation Committee meeting between China and the EU. He also
held talks with Mu Xinsheng, the minister of the Chinese General
Administration of Customs (GAC), on Monday.
Kovacs said that both sides agreed on the strategic partnership
between China and the EU in the third meeting and began to discuss
details of the Action Plan. IPR protection is a major issue for EU
businesses, for which counterfeit and pirated products pose a
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged last November that the
Chinese government was sincere and ambitious in IPR protection and
would take more actions in this regard.
"Protecting IPR is not only necessitated by China's opening up
but also by a domestic drive for encouraging innovation and
scientific development," Wen told the fourth EU-China Business
Most recently, China and the EU signed the minutes of the
bilateral IPR Working Group and launched the China-EU IPR Phase II
Kovacs praised the progress made by the Chinese government in
setting up an IPR regime, with visible improvements in enforcement.
But he said that the problem of IPR infringements in China far
exceeded the level of customs intervention and numerous actions
still needed to be taken.
He also discussed with the Chinese side the issue of
strengthening the security of the supply chain and facilitating
trade for reliable traders.
According to Kovacs, such work began in December 2006, with the
launch of the EU-China pilot project on secure and smart trade
On November 19, 2007, the customs administrations of the United
Kingdom, the Netherlands and China exchanged for the first time
electronic information on sea containers leaving their territory
through the ports of Rotterdam, Felixstowe and Shenzhen. Kovacs
said that China and the EU intended to expand the pilot ports from
the current three to include Hong Kong and the ports of more EU
The EU remains China's largest trading partner, with bilateral
trade hitting 356.15 billion US dollars last year, up 27 percent
(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2008)