WTO sets panel on entertainment products in China

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GENEVA, Nov 27 (Reuters) The World Trade Organisation (WTO) set up a panel today, at the request of the United States, to investigate Chinese rules governing the distribution of entertainment products such as DVDs, books and periodicals.

It was the second US request for a panel, and under WTO rules China was not able to block it.

The move was the latest in a series of trade disputes between Beijing and Washington which have drawn attention to the tensions in their economic relationship.

The United States says China unfairly limits who can import and distribute entertainment products.

China says its measures are designed to protect intellectual property rights -- another area of contention between the two economic superpowers -- by controlling market channels for such products.

The United States has launched WTO disputes procedures against China over issues including car parts, tax subsidies and copyright, while China is pursuing a case against US anti-dumping measures affecting Chinese paper imports.

Today's decision was an example of the WTO's work as the umpire of the international trading system, which was threatened last week by a row between China and Taiwan.

Taiwan, regarded by Beijing as a rebel province to be reunited with the mainland by force if necessary, had blocked the appointment of a Chinese judge to the WTO's top court, citing concerns about her impartiality.

Taiwan removed its objections on Tuesday after receiving assurances that WTO rules guaranteed the impartiality of its dispute system and safeguarded the rights of all members.

Reuters AK VP0027

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