BEIJING (AP) — China will appeal a World Trade Organization ruling that ordered it to ease restrictions on imports of movies, music, and books in a case brought by Washington, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said Monday, Aug. 18.
“We are actively preparing the documents to appeal,” spokesman Yao Jian said at a news conference. Yao gave no details of the grounds for appeal but the government last week denied that it obstructed imports.
The appeal will be filed within two months in line with WTO rules, Yao said.
A WTO panel concluded Wednesday that Beijing is violating its free-trade commitments by forcing imported media products to be routed through Chinese state-owned companies.
The WTO said Beijing should allow foreign companies to import and distribute master copies of books, magazines, and newspapers, and to receive the same conditions and charges as Chinese companies for distributing reading materials.
The Commerce Ministry last week expressed regret at the ruling and said China’s import channels for media products “are completely unimpeded.”
The case is sensitive for Beijing because the communist government sees its control over content of movies, music, books, and other media as a tool to protect its political power. The government is trying to build up China’s state-owned film studios and other media to promote the ruling party’s views at home and abroad.
The dispute is one of a series between the United States and China, the world’s largest and third-largest economies, over access to each other’s markets for goods ranging from tires to poultry. The United States is the world’s biggest exporter of movies, pop music, and other cultural goods and sees increased sales as a way to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade deficit with China. ♦
Associated Press researcher Bonnie Cao contributed to this report.