US urged to withdraw WTO copyright complaint

Updated: 2007-07-04 10:35

The US government should withdraw its complaint against China to the WTO over the intellectual property rights (IPR) issue, China's top IPR official reiterated on Tuesday.

"The Chinese government has always been firm in protecting intellectual property rights and attained significant achievements in this respect. It's not a sensible move for the US government to file a complaint against China to the WTO," said Tian Lipu, director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO).

The United States filed two WTO complaints against China over copyright piracy and restrictions on the sale of US books, music, videos and movies early April.

"As far as I know, negotiators from China and the US are still in the consultation stages within the WTO framework," Tian said, speaking at a seminar organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and SIPO in Beijing.

He said that it was still hard to predict the result of the consultation since it was the first time China had handled such a complaint.

"But we will respond to it positively according to WTO rules and fight through to the end," Tian vowed.

According to rules set by WTO, trade negotiators from both countries should try to resolve the dispute within a 60-day consultation period from the day the complaint was lodged. Otherwise, the United States can ask the WTO to establish investigative panels.

Tian said it was unreasonable for the United States to ignore the huge progress achieved by China in IPR protection.

He stressed that the amount of invention patent applications in China ranked fourth in the world last year and it increased by 28.4 percent on average between 2000 and 2006.

"IPR protection is a natural option for building an innovative country. It also serves China's goal for overall development. Therefore, the Chinese government will continue its efforts to protect IPR and combat copyright piracy no matter what decisions the US makes," Tian noted.

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