Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 19:46 UK

US wins trade case against China

DVD shop in Beijing
US film producers want to be able to sell more DVDs in China

The US has won a ruling at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against China's restrictions on the import of American DVDs and other media products.

The WTO ruled that China's current policy of only allowing the goods to be imported by state-run organisations broke global trade agreements.

However, the WTO upheld China's limits on the distribution of US films, and made no ruling on Chinese censorship.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk called the ruling a "significant victory".

"These findings are an important step toward ensuring market access for legitimate US products in the Chinese market, as well as ensuring market access for US exporters and distributors of those products," he said.

Chinese officials, who can still appeal the ruling, have yet to comment.

'Landmark ruling'

The WTO also said China was breaking trade rules by preventing US music download firms from offering their services directly to Chinese customers.

Its ruling also covers the export of US books, magazines and computer games to China.

The WTO said it had now instructed the Chinese government to make the required changes.

Tom Allen, chief executive of the Association of American Publishers, called it a "landmark ruling".

"It protects legitimate creators of valuable content and offers them fair access to this extremely important market," he said.

China's current limitations on the import of official US DVDs and other media products has created a large domestic counterfeit industry, much to US annoyance.

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