Beijing blocks US bid for ruling on import curb
GENEVA - CHINA has blocked a US request for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to rule on a complaint that Beijing is restricting the import of cultural goods such as books, music and DVDs.
The United States had earlier asked that the complaint be investigated by the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), but China blocked the move on Monday, as it is allowed to under the global trade body's rules.
However, should the US renew its request at the next DSB meeting on Nov19, it will be automatically adopted.
The case focuses on Beijing's legal structure that prevents US companies in China from importing books, music, videos and other protected cultural goods on their own and requires them instead to work through state-approved or state-run companies.
Washington has said that Beijing had agreed to free up these trading rights for non-Chinese companies when it joined the WTO.
The US also believes these restrictions encourage illegal piracy of cultural goods and other violations of intellectual property rights.
China said it was 'regretful' that the US had sought to bring the case to the DSB but stressed its desire to resolve the dispute through consultations.
The WTO is already investigating three trade disputes between China and the US.
Washington has accused Beijing of illegally hindering the import of foreign auto parts, providing government subsidies to a number of Chinese industries as well as effectively providing a safe haven for product piracy and counterfeiting through excessively high thresholds for criminal prosecution.
China has filed its own complaint over the anti-dumping duties the US applies on Chinese paper imports, the first such case initiated by Beijing against Washington in five years.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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