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The U.S. and China are once again butting heads over China's lax approach to piracy

The United States again recently filed two complaints related to copyright policy against China at the World Trade Organization.  Washington has wanted China to respect obligations the country promised after it officially joined the WTO in 2001.  However, China violated trade commitments after both failing to stop piracy and eliminating access for music, movies and books produced in the U.S.  The U.S. copyright industries reportedly lose billions of dollars per year due to piracy in China alone.

Spokesmen with the Chinese Commerce Ministry reacted strongly to the announcement that the U.S. decided to complain to the WTO.  The complaint "will seriously undermine cooperative relations the two nations have established in the field and will adversely affect bilateral trade," said Wang Xinpei, Commerce Ministry spokesman.  The nation is "strongly dissatisfied" with the decision, spokespeople added.

The nation also said that the recent complaint by the U.S. could harm future trade relations between the two countries.  Chinese diplomats are still discussing how to formally respond to the WTO complaint.

There will now be a 60-day consultation period in which trade negotiations between China and the United States will continue.  The WTO's involvement will be limited to whether or not China has made sufficient efforts to combat piracy -- the organization is unable to combat piracy in China.

A number of companies -- including Nintendo America, Microsoft, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the Motion Picture Association of America -- support the move by the U.S.  Microsoft hopes to see up to a 20 percent sales increase in China over the next year -- if the Chinese clamp-down works. 

"China is, by virtually any and every measure, the world's largest marketplace for pirate goods," said Dan Glickman, MPAA chairman and CEO.

President Bush announced in late March that the U.S. would impose duties on all imports of coated paper from China immediately after the piracy filing.  Bush did not directly attribute the tarrif to piracy infractions, but did indicate more duties are possible if China does not clean up its piracy stigma.

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Coated paper?
By BMFPitt on 4/11/2007 2:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
How big is coated paper anyway? Maybe it's way bigger than it seems, but that doesn't sounds like a strong enough deterrent. I guess it's harder to write a tariff on "random cheap crap."

RE: Coated paper?
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 3:05:56 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know how large it is in dollars, but there's something like 40 billion tons produced every year.

RE: Coated paper?
By James Holden on 4/11/2007 3:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
How the hell do you know this stuff. I'm not mocking it, but I can't figure out how you know so much oddball stuff.

RE: Coated paper?
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 3:13:43 PM , Rating: 1
No great mystery. The coated paper market's been in the news a lot lately...the US tariff announcement wasn't much of a surprise.

RE: Coated paper?
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 3:08:13 PM , Rating: 2
typo there, meant 40 million tons.

RE: Coated paper?
By rcc on 4/12/2007 12:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
lol, what's a 1000:1 error between friends.

Besides, errors that you catch before anyone else does, don't count.

There goes cheap stuff.
By Mitch101 on 4/11/2007 2:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
There goes cheap stuff and by cheap I mean good quality but inexpensive in a lot of cases.

Not for nothing but if China can make is cheaper then why isnt it cheaper? You cant say R&D every time. If you cant compete then outsource the manufacturing to China.

Creative at one time was the only company I would say was successfull at eliminating knock off's by offering thier own cheap knock off. So companies can compete with China they just choose to rip everyone off. To bad creative doesnt do the same with thier X-Fi cards. Driver issues aside.

Finally buy your meds from Canada its cheaper and its the same stuff made by the same company.

RE: There goes cheap stuff.
By BMFPitt on 4/11/2007 3:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
Not for nothing but if China can make is cheaper then why isnt it cheaper?

Those pesky child labor laws and the Emancipation Proclamation, among other things.

RE: There goes cheap stuff.
By James Holden on 4/11/2007 3:10:01 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget safety regulations (thanks Ralph Nader), unions, cost of living, competitive wages.

RE: There goes cheap stuff.
By masher2 on 4/11/2007 3:17:23 PM , Rating: 4
Environmental regulations are a huge cost factor for US paper producers as well. They've spent billions implementing the requirements of the 70/72 Clean Air & Water Acts.

RE: There goes cheap stuff.
By aftlizard01 on 4/11/2007 4:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
I would also personally thank Upton Sinclair for what its worth.

Coated paper?
By PrinceGaz on 4/11/2007 2:56:47 PM , Rating: 2
President Bush announced in late March that the U.S. would immediately impose duties on all imports of coated paper from China.

Please forgive my ignorance, but what exactly has that got to do with piracy?

RE: Coated paper?
By James Holden on 4/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Coated paper?
By phil verhey on 4/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: Coated paper?
By aftlizard01 on 4/11/2007 4:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah like the EU is any better.

RE: Coated paper?
By Ringold on 4/11/2007 11:23:17 PM , Rating: 2
Softwood lumber.. Canadian? Just a guess, but I recall reading we put some Canadians out of work with a lumber import tariff. Canada reaps what it sows, though, in terms of trade and politics.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Trade deficits don't matter. They've got little correlation, positive or negative, to growth -- which is all that really matters. The EU, for example, has a very slight deficit, but many of its members have surplus's.. but is it reflected in good unemployment or growth? No. The deficit merely reflects a business relationship; we buy their stuff, they invest their money back with us. If they stopped investing with us, we couldn't buy their stuff, and everybody suffers.

As for trade, I can't think of any country that has anything close to a good record, so focus your baseless hatred at something worthy. Every country has industries they're going to want to protect; that'll never change.

RE: Coated paper?
By emboss on 4/12/2007 7:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
I of course have a slightly biased view, but IMO New Zealand has a pretty good record :) Most of it due to the fact that pretty much all subsidies/tariffs/etc were abolished in the 80's, leading to much gnashing of teeth and loss of jobs at the time, but now resulting in some of the most efficient primary producers in the world (since they often have to compete against tariff- and subsidy-protected competitors).

The downside of this is that when it comes to negotiating trade agreements with other countries, we don't have a lot of things to negotiate with: "You remove your tariffs on lamb imports, and we'll ... umm ... let you import bricks without a tariff. That's right, you can ship all the bricks you want halfway around the world and not pay a cent in tariffs. What do you mean you aren't interested?!?"

One scorecard would be the number of complaints filed against a country at the WTO. Obviously this scales with regard to the amount of trade a country does, but does provide some insight. This table is at:

Curb Commercial Piracy
By TheTerl on 4/11/2007 8:11:35 PM , Rating: 3
I don't imagine anyone is particularly eager for a big economic confrontation between the US and China, but at the same time, it's only fair that China is expected to uphold its commitments. I can't say I entirely approve of every measure the US government has recently suggested, but I am glad to see active interest and dialog towards curbing this type of piracy.

I understand that some people have very strong opinions both ways about downloading content for their personal use, and it's not my intent to start a debate on that. Where I think we can all agree, though, is that groups who sell this pirated content for their own profit are especially egregious, and deserve to be shut down.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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