Page last updated at 04:39 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 05:39 UK

China regrets ruling in WTO case

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

China has said it "regretted" a World Trade Organisation decision against its system for the import of American media products.

The ruling ordered China to ease some of its curbs on foreign films, music and print.

But China has insisted its system is fair and warned that it might appeal against the trade body's ruling.

The United States, which brought the complaint to the WTO in 2007, claimed overall victory in the dispute.

The decision from the WTO settlement dispute panel said China was breaching international trade rules by blocking foreign-owned companies from acting as importers and wholesalers of films, music and printed material.

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


"China expresses regret that the panel did not reject the US complaint about the import and distribution of printed material, films and music," China's commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said in a statement.

"China will carefully evaluate the panel's report and does not rule out appealing on issues of concern to the Chinese side," he said in the statement.

The statement said, "the channels for China's import market for published materials, movies and music are completely unimpeded."

The United States, which brought the complaint to the WTO in 2007, called the WTO ruling significant.

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.

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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