China confab eyes trade gap, IPR issues

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SHANGHAI -- In the midst of the media furor surrounding the shipment of substandard Chinese goods to the U.S. and rampant intellectual property rights piracy, China's State Council Information Office on Thursday hosted a conference in Beijing on Chinese-American economic and trade relations.

Gao Hucheng, vice minister of China's Ministry of Commerce, addressed attendees at the conference, where the major talking points included the widening U.S. trade deficit and how to allay concerns about the quality of Chinese products.

Even though U.S. exports to China are on the rise and China is expected to supplant Japan as the third-largest export market for the U.S., the U.S. still carried a $232.6 billion trade deficit in 2006 and $117.5 billion for the first half of 2007, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

When asked about China's next step now that the U.S. has officially brought a case before the World Trade Organization concerning the issue of IPR, Gao said that China has restated its position many times.

"We feel sorry that America has taken this issue to the WTO, but we have negotiated according to relevant regulations. China has introduced to America relevant laws," Gao said. "The laws and regulations, especially in the past few years, were set up according to (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)."

However, MPA estimates indicate that as much as $1.2 billion in ticket sales was lost in 2005 because of consumers in the Asia Pacific region illegally copying films and music.
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