WTO orders China to ease curbs on foreign films


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM EDT

The World Trade Organisation on Wednesday ordered China to ease some of its restrictions on the import and distribution of foreign films, music and print following a complaint by the United States.

The WTO's ruling, which also affects Hollywood blockbusters, said China was breaching international trade rules by blocking foreign-owned companies from acting as importers and wholesales of films, music and print material.

The WTO asked China to conform with global trade rules on this issue.

However, on other aspects of the row, the WTO settlement dispute panel ruling said Washington had failed to establish a case against Beijing.

The panel also found that Chinese rules curbed internal distribution of reading material but said that Washington had failed to show that these rules were hampering the internal circulation of films and music.

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

"Today, a WTO panel handed a significant victory to America?s creative industries," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

"These findings are an important step toward ensuring market access for legitimate US products in the Chinese market, as well as ensuring market access for US exporters and distributors of those products."

Both the United States and China now have 60 days to lodge an appeal.

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