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China blocks US request
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09:55, October 24, 2007

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China has blocked a US request to establish a World Trade Organization (WTO) expert panel to investigate Chinese imports of films, DVDs, music and other publications.

The United States is expected to renew its request at the next Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting on November 19, when it will be automatically adopted. Under WTO rules, an expert panel request can be blocked only once.

The United States filed a complaint to the WTO DSB claiming that China's legal structure prevents Chinese companies from importing books, music, videos and other protected goods from the US. Washington said China agreed to free up these trading rights for non-Chinese companies when it joined the WTO.

China expressed regret over the US request at the DSB meeting on Monday.

"We respect the rights of the United States ... However, it is regretful this request has been made to establish a panel on this case," the Chinese delegation to the WTO said in a statement.

Chinese trade officials said the country had fulfilled its WTO commitments since it joined the body in 2001, including those pertaining to the audiovisual case.

"China annually imports and distributes dozens of revenue-sharing films as committed, half a million publications of different types and countless audiovisual products of various sources," the statement said.

"Good access to the Chinese marketplace for these products has already been provided," it said.

The panel request was made when formal consultations between the two countries in June and July failed to resolve the complaint.

Under WTO rules, it will take 45 days to set up a panel and appoint its members. The panel will submit a final report to the DSB and both parties in six months. A further 60 days is set aside for the DSB to adopt the report.

Source:China Daily

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