Beijing to 'fight to finish' over US gripes to WTO
Shi Jiangtao in Beijing
Wu Yi says piracy and import complaints risk ties
Beijing has vowed to 'fight to the finish' over US complaints to the World Trade Organisation of rampant piracy and import restrictions on American films, music and books.
Vice-Premier Wu Yi said yesterday the move by Washington this month was threatening trade ties between the two countries.
'Regrettably, the United States Trade Representative, the USTR, has totally ignored significant progress China has made,' she said at a forum on the eve of International Intellectual Property Rights Day.
'It will have an extremely negative impact. The Chinese government has expressed utter dissatisfaction about this, but we have decided to actively respond [to the cases] according to the related WTO rules and fight to the finish,' said Ms Wu, top envoy for trade talks with the US.
The highest-level response from the central government came after trade and copyright officials defended the country's record in fighting piracy and counterfeiting.
The US filed two complaints with the WTO against China for piracy and counterfeiting, and barriers to market access for American films, music, books and other publications.
'It will also inevitably have serious repercussions for bilateral intellectual property co-operation under the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade framework, and harm the existing co-operation between the two sides on market access for publications,' Ms Wu said.
Pointing the finger at Washington in front of more than 750 people at the forum including American diplomats, business executives and scholars, she said the US move had set a precedent in the WTO for a member country mounting two cases simultaneously against another.
'It flies in the face of the consensus between leaders of both countries for settling disputes through dialogue,' Ms Wu added.
She said Beijing had made steady progress in cracking down on piracy, with its efforts widely recognised by other countries, international organisations and foreign enterprises.
'We have adopted new measures to protect intellectual property, paid a dear price, made tremendous efforts and achieved marked progress,' she said.
But she admitted the mainland was plagued by rampant violations and poor law enforcement, saying the protection of intellectual property rights remained an arduous task.
'Piracy, counterfeiting and fake products can still be widely found. It remains cheap to infringe copyright, but costly to protect it. And public awareness of IPR protection remains weak,' she said.
Ms Wu said Beijing would issue a national strategy on tackling commercial piracy this year.
The government on Monday unveiled a wide-ranging action plan on intellectual property for the year, which listed more than 200 measures covering legislation, enforcement, education, publicity and international co-operation.
Beijing also plans to draft and revise 14 laws and regulations on intellectual property, and issue seven judicial interpretations and directives.