China's IPR action to be probed

By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-27 09:03

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established an expert panel at the request of the United States to probe whether China has taken sufficient action to protect intellectual property rights (IPR).

The panel was automatically set up on Tuesday at a meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, following a second request by the US.

Washington's first request for such a panel last month was rejected by China according to the WTO rules.

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Lu Xiankun, a Chinese trade official, told the WTO's dispute settlement body China strongly opposes US attempts to impose regulations that go beyond what is required by the WTO, and that China would defend its interests.

In April, the US filed a complaint against China's legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks. It claims its companies lose millions of dollars because of China's lax enforcement.

Consultations were held in June but the two sides failed to find a resolution.

"The United States recognizes that China has made the protection of intellectual property rights a priority and that China has taken active steps to improve protection and enforcement," Dan Hunter, a US trade official, told the WTO's dispute settlement body.

But Beijing has not done enough, he said.

China has spared no effort to improve its IPR legislation for nearly 30 years and particularly since joining the WTO in 2001, the Chinese Mission to the WTO said in a statement after Tuesday's meeting, adding that current legislation is in full accordance with WTO rules.

As a developing country, China is ready to make due efforts to promote worldwide IPR protection, the statement said.

This is the fifth WTO IPR case the US has brought against China and the third time it has called for a WTO dispute settlement panel.

Last September, Washington requested a panel to examine China's regulations on imposing local content requirements in the auto sector. In July 2007, it requested a panel regarding China's so-called "industrial subsidies".

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