WTO creates panel to investigate China IP protection

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GENEVA, Sept 25 (Reuters) The World Trade Organisation (WTO) created a panel on Tuesday, at the request of the United States, to investigate China's protection of intellectual property such as films and software.

The U.S. request, described by China as regrettable, was the latest in a series of disputes to bedevil U.S.-China trade relations. It was born of frustration at rip-offs of films, branded goods and other trademarked property openly available in Chinese cities as in many other parts of Asia.

China has also launched a case against the United States over anti-dumping measures on paper imports from China.

The U.S. case covers piracy of goods and services such as films and software. Washington considers China has not set up criminal procedures and penalties to deal with counterfeiting of trademarks or copyright piracy on a commercial scale.

U.S. diplomats told the WTO Dispute Settlement Body that Washington recognised China had made the protection of intellectual property rights a priority and China had taken steps to improve their protection.

But talks between the two countries had not resolved U.S.

concerns.

It was the second request by the United States, after the first one was rejected by China. Under WTO rules, China is not able to block the panel over a second request.

China said in a statement to the WTO that it was confident its measures to protect intellectual property and copyright were in line with WTO rules.

''We strongly oppose the U.S. attempt on developing members through this extra obligation that goes beyond what has been prescribed in the ... Agreement and shall defend our interests in the future process,'' it said.

The United States was joined by Japan, Mexico, the European Union, Argentina and Taiwan as third parties in the case, allowing them to express their views to the panel. Other countries could join later.

The panel has six months to review the case, once the panellists have been appointed.

REUTERS PBB

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