USA takes China to WTO

The US Trade Representative has announced that the USA has formally initiated two complaints under the WTO dispute procedures against China for allegedly failing to implement its TRIPS obligations ...

The first complaint relates to IPR protection and enforcement measures:

* Chinese law is said to impose quantitative thresholds below which criminal proceedings will not be brought which allegedly creates a "safe harbor" for large scale copyright piracy and trade mark counterfeiting contrary to TRIPS;

* Chinese law is said to permit the release of seized goods back into the market after removal of fake labels or other infringing features, but TRIPS is said to require that they be kept off the market altogether;

* Chinese law is also said to deny copyright protection to materials which have not received censorship approval which is said to be permitting large scale piracy to flourish unrestrained; and

* Chinese law is also criticised for not providing for criminal sanctions against persons who copy large quantities of copyright materials unless they actually distribute the products.

The second complaint relates to market access requirements which are said to impermissibly require US copyright owners to distribute their products in China only through specially authorised, state-approved or state-run agencies. The US claims that China was required to phase out these restrictions by December 2004 under the terms of its accession agreement to the WTO.

Both complaints enter a 60 day consultation process.

The USTR's announcement with links to the complaints is here.

Posted: Wednesday - 11 April, 2007 at 05:30 PM         |

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