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EU Trade Chief Appeals to China to Uphold Copyrights


The European Union's trade chief has urged China to stop widespread product piracy, saying it hurts Chinese companies as much as European ones.

The EU commissioner for trade, Peter Mandelson expressed disappointment Wednesday at China's lack of progress in tackling copyright infringements.

Mandelson was in Beijing to meet Chinese officials in charge of enforcing patents and copyrights.

Mandelson asked China's leaders to increase the number of criminal prosecutions for abuse of IPR, or intellectual property rights, and to toughen sanctions.

He says that combating copyright infringements is in China's long-term economic interest.

"IPR protection is not a favor China is doing for Europe,” he said. “It is an absolute condition for China's future innovative and manufacturing success."

Mandelson said Chinese companies are now copying a wider range of goods, including car and airplane parts. Some are even replicating prescription medicines, including birth control pills.

Mandelson also said that Chinese companies are failing to pay royalties on patented technology and products, despite a law requiring them to do so. He singled out Chinese television stations for using EU-made programs without paying for them.

The EU trade chief said more than half the counterfeit goods seized in the EU last year came from China.

On Tuesday speaking at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Mandelson also warned that China needed to open its markets more widely to European Union imports or risk jeopardizing relations.