USTR requests WTO settlement panel on Chinese counterfeiting
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that the United States has requested the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute settlement panel, the next step in its WTO case challenging deficiencies in China's legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks on a wide range of products.
'The United States and China have tried, through formal consultations over the last three months, to resolve differences arising from U.S. concerns about inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in China,' USTR spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement. 'That dialogue has not generated solutions to the issues we have raised, so we are asking the WTO to form a panel to settle this dispute. It is in the best interest of all nations, including China, to protect intellectual property rights. Over the past several years China has taken tangible steps to improve IPR protection and enforcement. However, we still see important gaps that need to be addressed. We will pursue this legal dispute in the WTO and will continue to work with China bilaterally on other important IPR issues.'
The United States is seeking to eliminate significant structural deficiencies that give pirates and counterfeiters in China a safe harbor to avoid criminal liability, and is also seeking to improve enforcement procedures at China's border, and to give copyright owners more tools to prevent the production of unauthorized copies in China, the USTR said.
Despite a request in April to resolve the dispute through talks, which took place in June, 'China has not ' taken any steps that address these U.S. concerns during this period,' the USTR said.
The U.S. panel request will be considered by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body at its Aug. 31 meeting.