U.S. asks WTO for China piracy panel


WASHINGTON -- The Bush Administration refused to alter its collision course with China over Beijing's failure to curb Intellectual property abuses as it continues to push its case before the World Trade Organization.

On Monday the U.S. Trade Representative said it asked the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel, the next procedural step in its WTO case challenging China's restrictions on the importation and distribution of products of copyright-intensive industries such as theatrical films, DVDs, music, books and journals.

"The United States and China have tried, through formal consultations over the last several months, to address U.S. concerns about the importation and distribution barriers that U.S. movies, music and publications face in China," said USTR spokesman Sean Spicer. "Those discussions have unfortunately not led to a resolution of our concerns, and so we are now taking the next step in this case and asking the WTO to establish a panel."

In April the Bush Administration initiated dispute settlement proceedings over deficiencies it sees in China's legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks by requesting consultations with China.

The move Monday comes on the second of two cases the U.S. is pursuing in the WTO. Earlier this year the Bush Administration asked for a consultation panel on its case regarding Chinese enforcement of intellectual property laws, and this one involves barriers that keep U.S. products out of the Chinese marketplace.

The motion picture and music industries have long pushed the White House to take action against China for the rampant piracy and restrictive trade barriers that effectively limit to 20 the number of films that can be imported there. Both movies and music also face restrictions on the ability to import products or establish business operations in China.