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China Retaliating for WTO Complaint by Withholding Cooperation on Copyright Protection

The U.S. ambassador to China says Beijing is withholding cooperation on protecting intellectual property rights because of a complaint Washington filed with the World Trade Organization. China is one of the world's largest sources of counterfeit goods and is facing increasing international pressure to protect foreign patents and trademarks. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

Ambassador Clark Randt Jr. says that although the U.S. is offering support and training to help protect intellectual property rights, the Chinese are not fully cooperating.

Product piracy in China costs foreign businesses billions of dollars a year, and Randt said Wednesday there are indications from American businesses that piracy is getting worse.

"While the stakes have rarely been higher, the limitations and restrictions on what we can do here have also increased," he said. "Due to the United States government's filing of an IPR, [intellectual property rights] related case at the WTO as a result … and as a result, China in some cases has curtailed certain forms of cooperation with the United States government."

Randt made the comments at a gathering on copyright protections with American business representatives in Beijing.

Jon Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce in charge of intellectual property rights, said at the meeting that relations with China on the issue have suffered since the World Trade Organization case.

He says the Chinese have declined a U.S. request for another meeting of a bilateral working group at a time when dialogue is needed most.

"We think the right answer is not to slow any of the bilateral relationships but to increase those, deepen them, and make certain that all of the issues-the range of issues in which we share, whether we agree completely or whether we have some level of disagreement, - to make certain those go forward," Dudas said.

The U.S. in April asked the WTO to investigate Chinese restrictions on the sale of American films, music, and publications after negotiations failed to resolve the dispute.

The WTO is already investigating other complaints by the U.S. against China over product piracy, limits on foreign auto parts, and subsidized industries.

China has its own WTO case against the U.S. for imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese paper imports.

U.S. trade officials say the disputes need to be resolved as they are leading to damaging protectionist sentiment in both China and the U.S. Congress.

China is also facing increasing international pressure to crack down on piracy. The European Union Tuesday said it wants to join an agreement the U.S. proposed that would bring more pressure against countries such as China where product piracy is rampant.

Pirated products ranging from DVDs to clothing and drugs are sold openly in China. Millions of dollars worth of pirated products also are exported from China each year.

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