Archive for the ‘WTO’ Category

WTO’s China Piracy Ruling: All Bark And No Bite

January 27, 2009

Washington claimed a tactical victory in its intellectual property case against China, but it is losing the war.

By Tina Wang

In its efforts to get China to curb piracy, the United States claims that it now has the World Trade Organization on its side. But the proclamation of victory is empty or premature, or both.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that the WTO had ruled in its favor, judging that in certain respects, China’s policing of pirated goods constitutes a breach of its treaty obligations. But the WTO actually demurred on the segment of the U.S. complaint that contained the most bite: that China does not provide enough criminal sanction against counterfeiters.

WTO Sides With U.S. in Copyright Dispute with China

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WTO Sides With U.S. in Copyright Dispute with China

January 27, 2009

China on Tuesday expressed regret over a World Trade Organisation ruling that backed the United States in a copyright protection dispute, but pledged to cooperate with other countries on the issue.

“As we continually strengthen domestic intellectual property rights, we will continue to promote international exchanges and cooperation on IPR and promote the healthy development of global trade relations,” commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said in a statement.

The statement on the ministry’s website was the first Chinese reaction to the WTO’s Monday ruling in the case, in which the US challenged what it called shortcomings in patent protection for imported products in China, as well as in Chinese copyright law.



To Trade Sceptic Barack Obama: World Wants To Know is U.S. For Free Trade?

December 22, 2008

The question whether the Obama presidency could deliver the coup de grâce to the sickly Doha trade round may seem like a mere footnote to the unfolding economic drama. Doha’s few ardent supporters concede that the direct boost from a global trade accord would be modest – peanuts compared with the hundreds of billions of fiscal stimulus being pumped into the stalling global economy. The cancellation this month of a ministerial meeting at the World Trade Organisation was all but shrugged off by Pascal Lamy, the WTO director-general. Even in the last chance saloon, he said, there were more drinks available at the bar.

By Rosemary Righter
Times of  London

Yet this was not quite the nonevent that Mr Lamy made out. Doha is not a footnote. It is the canary in a fast-flooding mine. The meeting had been ordered up at their November summit by leaders of the G20, countries that between them account for 80 per cent of world trade, with trumpeted instructions to secure the framework of a deal by the year’s end – before the presidency of George W. Bush, a convinced free trader, gives way to that of the trade sceptic Barack Obama. It did not take place for one reason: these same governments had failed to give trade ministers new marching orders.

The G20’s Doha pledge was a test of international will to keep markets open. Governments failed that test, and are failing others, too. The G20 also undertook not to impose or raise any new barriers to trade or investment for the next 12 months.

Days later, Russia raised import duties on imported cars and announced a general review of all its trade agreements and India increased tariffs on steel. China, cunningly, had already slipped in new export tax rebates on more than 3,700 products – covering roughly 28 per cent its exports – under a “China World Top Brand” programme that on Friday the United States took to the WTO. This was not innocent trade promotion, the US plausibly complains, but a massive export subsidy that gives Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage over exporters in countries whose cash-strapped governments cannot afford to forgo big hunks of tax revenue. But China could well retort that the US bailout for Detroit is equally discriminatory, as is Nicolas Sarkozy’s “investment fund” to keep France “a country where we continue to build cars, boats, trains and planes”.

The trouble with favours offered to some industries is that they encourage demands from others. With trade volumes expected by the World Bank to shrink next year ….

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WTO Sides With U.S., Rejects China Appeal Against Auto Parts Ruling

December 15, 2008

The World Trade Organization has rejected an appeal by China against a ruling that favored the United States in a dispute over car parts, the European Union and Canada.

The WTO appeals panel recommended in a ruling released Monday that China be asked to bring its import tariffs for foreign auto parts into compliance with international trade rules.

Associated Press

Volkswagen cars are seen at a dealership in Shanghai December ... 
Volkswagen cars are seen at a dealership in Shanghai December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA)

U.S. and European trade officials welcomed the decision.

“Especially in light of the current problems faced by the U.S. auto industry, I expect China to comply promptly with its WTO obligations by removing an unlawful and unfair trade barrier that is harming U.S. workers and manufacturers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

Her European counterpart, EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, said, “China should now put an end to the discrimination and ensure a level playing field in its automotive sector.”

Officials at China’s mission to the WTO could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beijing had appealed the original ruling made in July, arguing that the taxes were needed to stop whole cars being imported in large chunks, allowing companies to avoid the higher tariff rates for finished cars. It was the first time China lost a case before the world trade body.

Under the import rules, cars made in China must contain at least 40 percent Chinese-made parts or they are taxed at the rate of imported finished cars.

The U.S., the 27-nation EU and Canada argued that the tariffs made it cheaper for car parts companies to shift production to China, costing Americans, Canadians and Europeans their jobs.

China now has a “reasonable period of time” to make legislative changes, after which a separate WTO panel has to determine whether Beijing has come into compliance or is still breaking the rules, in which case sanctions can be imposed.

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