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EU’s choice: No China suit over piracy at WTO

Biz reckons piracy cost more than $2.6 billion in China last year

European Union trade czar Peter Mandelson on Wednesday described wide-scale piracy in China as “a ball and chain” dragging down European competitiveness but said Brussels would stop short of suing China at the World Trade Organization for failing to meet its obligations.

“I’m not looking for opportunities to take China to the WTO, and I hope very much it won’t be necessary,” Mandelson said in Beijing. His comments came amid recent reports the U.S. may launch a WTO case against China for failing to protect intellectual property.

Mandelson took part in signing a joint memorandum between the European Chamber of Commerce in China and Mofcom in which the European Commission agreed to provide technical assistance for 50 intellectual-property complaint centers established to offer practical assistance for companies in identifying and addressing cases of intellectual property theft.

The biz reckons piracy cost more than $2.6 billion in China last year because of pirates who control the vast majority of the market.

Brussels and Washington have joined forces in the past to complain to the WTO about Chinese rules on vehicle part imports.

China’s commerce minister, Bo Xilai, told reporters that his country had made big strides in protecting intellectual property, adding that if Washington takes a complaint to the WTO, it would hurt the two nations’ trade relations.

Separately, the MPAA said the Hollywood studios have launched a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Chinese DVD manufacturer AKI Digital for violating the Content Scramble System license agreement, which aims to protect DVDs against illegal reproduction and redistribution.

Suit alleges the DVD-player manufacturer, based in Shenzhen in southern China, has not properly implemented certain content-protection requirements of the CSS license on its DVD players, which were made under license from the DVD Copy Control Assn.

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