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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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