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By | Joe Fay 10th April 2007 13:45

Washington goes to WTO over China counterfeiters

Beijing says piracy claims are junk

Beijing lashed out at the Bush administration today after Washington went whining to the WTO about China's record on combating piracy.

The Americans have accused the Chinese of, on the one hand, failing to open up their markets to books, music, video and movies, and on the other hand of not doing enough to protect and enforce copyrights and trademarks.

China has reacted angrily, state news agency Xinhua reported, with Tian Lipu, commissioner of the Intellectual Property Office, telling a conference: "It's not a sensible move for the US government to file such complaint."

Tian claimed China's effort to stifle piracy "has never slackened" citing the lowering of the threshold for prosecuting pirates from 1,000 copies of a product to 500.

Xinhua wheeled out a Chinese academic, He Jiasheng of Wuhan University, to accuse the US of playing piracy pots and kettles. "The United States itself is not immune to piracy," the professor said. "A special US survey on piracy indicates its software industry alone loses US$3.2bn of profits a year to IPR violators."

China's heroic efforts to counter counterfeiting have clearly bypassed Washington. Announcing the WTO complains, US trade representative Susan Schwab said piracy in China was costing US industry billions of dollars. At the same time, Schwab said China' restrictions on imports of US cultural products was harming US business, while simultaneously encouraging IP pirates.

"Because bilateral dialogue has not resolved our concerns, we are taking the next step by requesting WTO consultations," she said. ®

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