EU, China to share port info


BRUSSELS -- The European Union and China on Monday announced plans in Beijing for a joint network to share information among their ports as they fight piracy and counterfeiting.

The move came after months of heavy EU pressure over the rampant piracy of music and movies in China, and claims from music label group IFPI that 99% of the Chinese digital market was pirated.

EU taxation and customs commissioner Laszlo Kovacs and his Chinese counterparts agreed to create an "intelligence network" linking Chinese and European ports. Speaking after meeting Chinese customs commissioner minister Mu Xinsheng, Kovacs also said that the EU will station anti-counterfeiting officials in Beijing to work full-time with Chinese authorities.

China is the biggest source of counterfeit goods seized at European ports, Kovacs said. Commission officials say that stronger administrative cooperation between EU and Chinese customs authorities should help bolster Beijing's police and judicial efforts to tighten enforcement. But industry groups say the scale of offenses appears to be growing despite a stepping up of Chinese penalties and repeated crackdowns.

Separately, a top Ministry of Culture official vowed to improve the "grave situation" of music and movie piracy in the country.

"The illegal downloading and uploading of music on the Internet has been very detrimental to artists, so we feel very sorry about that," deputy director-general Zhang Xin Jian aid. He said that the government will look to tighten administrative control on the Internet and would prosecute those behind it.