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China responds to WTO ruling

Decision to open country to more U.S. imports

BEIJING — China’s Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday that it regretted the World Trade Organization’s decision to uphold a ruling against China’s restrictions on imports of Hollywood films, as well as music and books from the U.S. (Daily Variety, Dec. 22).

The decision effectively denied Beijing’s claim that the curbs were necessary to protect public morals, and the government must now free up distribution of “cultural products,” including U.S. DVDs, CDs, computer games, books, magazines and films. The ruling could make it easier for Hollywood films to show in China, potentially the world’s biggest market.

The U.S. and China have been locked in a number of trade disputes of late, many of them related to what the U.S. sees as the artificially low level of China’s yuan, which makes its goods cheaper abroad.

China has imported about 500,000 titles of all kinds every year since joining the WTO in 2001, as promised in its entry agreement, it said.

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