China told to ease barriers on U.S. DVDs, music, books
The WTO has ruled in favor of the United States in a dispute against China over the importation and distribution of copyright-intensive products such as theatrical films, DVDs, music, books and journals.
According to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk's office, the WTO found that the major Chinese restrictions are inconsistent with China’s WTO obligations. The WTO dispute settlement panel called on China to come into compliance with its obligations to allow U.S. companies to import these products into China and to eliminate discriminatory requirements faced by imported products and their U.S. distributors in China.
“Today, a WTO panel handed a significant victory to America’s creative industries,” Kirk said in a statement. “These findings are an important step toward ensuring market access for legitimate U.S. products in the Chinese market, as well as ensuring market access for U.S. exporters and distributors of those products. We will work tirelessly so that American companies and workers can fully realize the market opening benefits that this decision signals.”
The United States initiated the WTO dispute process against China because of serious concerns about shortcomings in China’s legal regime governing the importation and distribution of copyright-intensive products. After unsuccessful consultations, the United States moved to institute panel proceedings. The result of those proceedings, released in today’s WTO report, clearly addresses these shortcomings.
In addition to addressing discriminatory requirements on American importers and distributors, the findings also call on China to allow U.S. companies to partner with Chinese enterprises in joint ventures to distribute sound recordings over the Internet.
“This decision promises to level the playing field for American companies working to distribute high-quality entertainment products in China, so that legitimate American products can get to market and beat out the pirates,' Kirk said. 'To me, that is a clear win. We believe that this report will help pave the way toward more open trade between China and America.”
The WTO report is available here.