China appeals WTO ruling on imports

Panel found country's policy violates int'l trade rules

GENEVA -- China on Tuesday appealed against a World Trade Organization ruling upholding parts of a U.S. complaint about Chinese restrictions on imports of films, books and other audio-visual material.

"China is appealing the panel ruling," an official at China's WTO mission said.

A WTO dispute panel found on Aug. 12 that China's regime for importing and distributing audio-visual material broke international trade rules.

The result of the appeal is expected at the end of the year.

Washington had argued that China's controls on cultural products robbed U.S. publishers, Hollywood and entertainment multinationals of the chance to make substantial sales, leaving the way open for local pirates to sell counterfeit copies.

The ruling did not challenge the right of China's communist authorities to censor material they found objectionable, but said they could not use censorship to justify illegal trade barriers.