The United States has filed two lawsuits against China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over intellectual property infringement, charging it with rampant piracy and restricting American movies and music products and books from entering into the country. This is the third time the Bush administration, facing Congressional pressure in the sphere of trade, has lodged complaints against China and imposed pressure upon it. This US move is not wise, and will eventually be a pure game not really worth the candle, and even American media and relevant researchers hold such a viewpoint.
First of all, the action of the US side proceeds only from the specific needs of narrow interests from the domestic politics, without taking into account reality in US-China trade and the overall bilateral situation. Not long ago, Professor Gaoyi Fu from Harvard University in an interview with reporters predicted that Congressmen would stir up trouble on US-China trade in spring this year. Some American media even made clear that the US' WTO suits against China show that the Bush administration has been subjected to an increasing pressure from Congress dominated by Democrats.
This move of the US government is aimed to win support of the Democratic Congress for the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Trade Promotion Authority, which is due in June 2007, according to media analyses. So it can be said that it is precisely political disputes inside the United States that have obliged the Bush administration to take a series of tough trade policies against China in recent two months.
In fact, the Chinese government, however, has made noteworthy achievements in the protection of the intellectual property right over recent years. China and the U.S. have all along had good communication and consultations in the market access to the publishers' market. Even US trade representative Susan C. Schwab acknowledged that the Chinese government, by prioritizing the protection of intellectual property right, has resorted to positive actions for improving the protection and law enforcement of the intellectual property right. Now, the American side has filed the two cases with the WTO in violation of the consent reached by the leaders of both nations on vigorous expansion of bilateral trade and appropriate settlement of the issues with respect to economic and trade ties. This move will seriously hamper the cooperative ties so far forged in these aspects and, therefore, will be detrimental to bilateral economic and trade ties.
Second, the trade war will infringe upon the United States. In its April 10 editorial page, the New York Times underlines that if this move heralds an all-round trade war against China, all parties will lose, including the American workers whom the White House and Congress have alleged to protect. Moreover, owing to the present daily rising anti-China sentiments, noted the newspaper, efforts must be made to avert extremely great misconception, so as to avoid the runaway tit-for-tat tariff reprisals. Furthermore, the trade war will lead to more harms for the U.S. than for China, the New York Times added.
Meanwhile, AP reports acknowledged, the Bush administration's lodging of complaints against China will possibly draw the support from audio-visual and books publishing circles, but opposition from other businesses. US trade representative Susan C. Schwab also acknowledged that different trades differ with their expectations for the China trade policies of their government.
Third, only consultation on an equal footing is the sole correct option. The Chinese government has time and again underscored that China and the U.S. should resolve their economic and trade disputes in the course of expanding their mutual economic and trade relations. China has been firmly implementing the commitments it had made when it joined the WTO, and hopes that the US side, too, takes substantial moves to facilitate the growth of bilateral economic and trade ties.
As a matter of fact, large quantities of pirated audio-visual products originate from the U.S., and dialogues and cooperation are required to cope with such a global intellectual property infringement. Both China and the U.S. have an initiative for tackling these disputes, and China has made substantial, strenuous efforts over recent years to protect its intellectual property right and landed itself in a relatively advantageous position, even if both nations file cases against each other with the WTO.
By People's Daily Online and its authors Xi Laiwang and Li Wenyun, both senior PD resident reporters in the U.S.