WTO establishes panel to investigate US complaint against China


The Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has decided to establish a panel to investigate a complaint filed by the United States alleging that China's protection and enforcement of IP rights are inadequate. The case, China - Measures Affecting the Protection and Enforcement of IP Rights (WT/DS362/1), was filed by the United States in April 2007 (see "WTO dispute process started over failed IP negotiations with China").

China has sought to resolve the dispute through formal consultation with the United States over the past four months, but the talks have failed to reach an acceptable solution. In August the United States requested that the WTO set up a dispute settlement panel, but China used its right of refusal to block the request. However, in accordance with the WTO rules, a panel has been established following the United States' second request.

Although the United States admits that China has taken steps to improve the protection of IP rights, it maintains that some significant gaps remain. China insists that its measures are in line with WTO rules and has declared that the US action is regrettable.

Japan, Mexico, the European Union, Chinese Taipei and Argentina have reserved their third-party rights to participate in the dispute. Australia has also decided to participate in the dispute as a third party.

Jin Ling, Rouse & Co International, Beijing

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