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US wins WTO appeal on China's non-tariff barriers against US movies, music, and games
Howard Richman, 1/5/2010

The Chinese government keeps out almost all American consumer products through one barrier or another. For example, as I noted in a September 2009 Seeking Alpha commentary (China's Non-Tariff Barriers to US Games), they freely permit the piracy of American movies, music, and games, while delaying the issuance of permits to import the legitimate products. The U.S. has been disputing this barrier through a WTO complaint since April 2007. In a December 21 press release, US Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk announced that the WTO Appellate Body has agreed with the U.S. position. Here is a selection:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced today that the WTO Appellate Body has confirmed that China's restrictions on the importation and distribution of certain copyright-intensive products are inconsistent with China's WTO obligations. The products at issue include films for theatrical release, DVDs, music, books and journals.

"Today America got a big win. We are very pleased that the WTO has found against China's import and distribution restrictions on U.S. movies, music, DVDs and publications," Ambassador Kirk said. "The Appellate Body's findings are key to ensuring full market access in China for legitimate, high-quality entertainment products and the exporters and distributors of those products. U.S. companies and workers are at the cutting edge of these industries, and they deserve a full chance to compete under agreed WTO rules. We expect China to respond promptly to these findings and bring its measures into compliance."...

So what's next. The bottom of the press release notes:

The WTO Dispute Settlement Body is expected to adopt the Appellate Body report and the panel report within the next 30 days. Within 30 days following adoption, China must announce its intentions with respect to implementation of the WTO's rulings.

The Obama administration is doing its best to chip away at China's trade barriers. They are trying to show that free trade and the WTO can work.




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