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China Appeals on WTO Film and Book Ruling 中国就WTO中美娱乐产品纠纷裁决提出上诉
 发布日期: 2009-9-23 18:17:40
 

Financial Time Sept 22, 2009. China has filed a last-minute appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling that it unfairly restricts the sale of US films, music and books, reviving an argument that its restrictions were needed to protect public morals and Chinese culture.

Beijing has often argued that it is protecting its citizens – and particularly its children – from pornography and other vices to justify its tight control over the media, the internet, and the distribution in China of western entertainment products.

A World Trade Organisation panel last month largely upheld Washingtons complaint that Beijing was breaking WTO rules and its 2001 WTO entry terms by requiring all imported entertainment products to be channelled through state-run distributors.

China defended its restrictions on entertainment products by arguing that they were needed to protect public morals and Chinese culture.

Tuesdays appeal comes at a time of heightened trade tension between the US and China on the eve of the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh later this week, when leaders are due to reaffirm their commitment to avoid protectionism and conclude the long-delayed Doha round of global trade talks.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration slapped punitive tariffs on imports of Chinese tyres, prompting a WTO challenge by China, which also announced anti-dumping investigations into imports of US chicken and auto parts.

Pascal Lamy, WTO director-general, warned last week that the US tyres decision risked provoking a spiral of tit-for-tat retaliation that could weaken trades contribution to a global economic recovery.

The entertainment case will now go to the WTOs appeals tribunal, which is likely to deliver its judgment early next year.

Although WTO rules permit governments to justify trade barriers on the grounds of protecting public morality, the panel said Chinas measures were more restrictive than they needed to be to attain its objectives.

The WTO ruling did not reject the import quota of 20 foreign films a year that are funnelled through China Film, a state company, nor did it challenge Chinas right to censor foreign films and publications.

But it said foreign producers of copyrighted material should not be forced to use monopoly distributors and that music companies should be able to form joint ventures with Chinese enterprises to sell music over the internet.

Chinas box office sales were about $650m in 2008, of which 40 per cent was earned by foreign films including the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

The United States Trade Representative said on Tuesday that the US had not appealed against the ruling, and would now go through the appeals process.”We have just received this document and are analyzing it now,” said a USTR spokeswoman. ”We anticipate results of the appeal at the end of the year.”

Elliot Feldman, head of international trade at law firm Baker & Hostetler, said China may end up disappointed and frustrated with the WTO.

“The Chinese are determined to exercise their WTO rights now, and to be full-blown international partners, [but] it isnt going to do them a whole lot of good. It takes too long and the United States has endless ways of blocking things.”

世界贸易组织(WTO)上月裁定,中国不公平地限制了美国电影、音像制品和图书的销售,中国已在最后时刻就上述裁决结果提出上诉,重申这些限制措施是保护公共道德和中国文化的必要之举。

北京方面经常辩称,自己是在保护公民——尤其是儿童——免受色情及其它有害信息的侵害,以此作为对媒体、互联网以及西方娱乐产品在华传播进行严格控制的理由。

WTO专家组上月基本支持了美方的申诉,即中国要求所有进口娱乐产品必须经由国有分销商渠道的做法违反了WTO规定和2001年的入世条款。

中方为自己限制娱乐产品的行为作出辩护,称这是保护公共道德和中国文化的必要之举。

中国周二提起的上诉,适逢美中贸易争端进一步升级之际。本周晚些时候,20国集团(G20)峰会将在匹兹堡举行,届时,各国领导人将重申避免保护主义的承诺,并推动拖延已久的多哈回合全球贸易谈判早日结束。

本月早些时候,奥巴马政府宣布对中国输美轮胎征收惩罚性关税,促使中国就此案启动了WTO争端解决程序。中国还宣布对源自美国的肉鸡和汽车零部件展开反倾销调查。

WTO总干事帕斯卡尔•拉米(Pascal Lamy)上周警告,美国轮胎特保案有可能激起一轮针锋相对的报复行动,从而削弱贸易对全球经济复苏的促进作用。

影音产品案现在将移交至WTO的上诉法庭。该机构可能会在明年初宣布裁决结果。

尽管WTO规定允许各国政府以保护公共道德为由为贸易壁垒开释,但WTO专家组认为,中国的措施比实现目标所需程度更为严格。

WTO的裁决并未否决中方经由国有的中影集团(China Film)每年进口20部外国影片的进口限额,也没有质疑中国审查外国电影和出版物的权利。

但裁决表示,中国不应强迫版权资料的外国制作人使用垄断分销商,同时应允许唱片公司与中国公司组建合资企业,通过互联网销售音乐制品。

中国2008年票房收入约为6.5亿美元,其中40%来自外国影片,其中包括《007:量子危机》(James Bond: Quantum of Solace)。

美国贸易代表办公室(Office of the United States Trade Representative)周二表示,美国尚未就裁决提起上诉,目前将进入上诉程序。“我们刚刚收到这份文件,现在正在分析,”该办公室的一名女发言人表示。“我们期待在年底获得上诉结果。”

贝克豪思律师事务所(Baker & Hostetler)国际贸易部门主管埃里奥特•费尔德曼(Elliot Feldman)表示,中国最终可能会对WTO感到失望和沮丧。

“中国人现在下决心行使自己的WTO权利,成为成熟的国际合作伙伴,(但)这不会给他们带来太多好处。WTO的程序耗时太长,而美国有无数的阻挠方式。”- 摘自英国《金融时报》2009年9月22日

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