Wu: US piracy case will harm trade ties

(chinadaily.com.cn / agencies)
Updated: 2007-04-24 14:37

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (L) shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi during a meeting at Beijing airport March 7, 2007. [Reuters]
US-filing complaints to the WTO over alleged commercial piracy in China will "badly damage" cooperation, Vice Premier Wu Yi warned on Tuesday, saying that China has made great strides in protecting patents and copyrights.

Earlier this month, Washington launched two cases at the World Trade Organization claiming that China was not doing enough to punish illegal copiers of films and music and that its restrictions on entertainment imports violated trade rules.

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Beijing has denounced Washington's move and Madame Wu, who heads the country's economic dialogue with Washington, bluntly warned that the complaints would damage bilateral trade ties.

"The United States Trade Representative, the USTR, has totally ignored the massive strides China has made," Wu told an intellectual property forum in Beijing.

The US action "flies in the face of the agreement between the two countries' leaders to propose dialogue as a way of settling disputes," Wu said, adding that never before had a WTO member simultaneously mounted two cases against another country.

"This will have an utterly negative impact and will inevitably badly damage bilateral intellectual property cooperation," she said, while also warning it would "harm" cooperation over market access issues.

"The Chinese government is extremely dissatisfied about this, but we will proactively respond according to the related WTO rules and see it through to the end," Wu said.

On Monday, China sought to demonstrate its determination to stop piracy by releasing an intellectual property action plan.[Action Plan on IPR Protection]

Last year, the country formally joined the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. On July 1, 2006, it also implemented regulations on the protection of the right of communication through information networks.

China will also draft and implement 14 laws on intellectual property rights and usage, and issue explanations and guiding policies for handling IP violation cases, according to a government notice.

Wu defended China's record of combating piracy, pointing out that 988 people were arrested for IP infringement last year and that courts heard 6,441 IP cases.

"Over the last few years, the amount of manpower and work that China has put into protecting intellectual property rights and the results that have been achieved, have been unprecedented," she said.

"Every year we have nationwide events to protect intellectual property and we have always kept up the pressure on the pirates. The effects of this clean-up get better every year."
However, Wu admitted a lot of work lay ahead.

"At the moment, China's burden is heavy and the road is long, with relatively little of its own intellectual property, weak competitiveness, continuous piracy disputes and a prominence of fake products," she said.

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