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China slams U.S. trade complaints

Story Highlights

• China expresses "great regret and strong dissatisfaction" at U.S. decision
• Complaints concern what U.S. alleges are trade barriers, poor copyright protection
• Requests to be filed Tuesday
• U.S. has urged China to crack down on piracy, with little results, officials say
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China on Tuesday criticized U.S. plans to file two complaints with the World Trade Organization accusing China of unfair trade practices.

The requests for WTO consultations concern what U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said were "deficiencies in China's legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks" and on "China's barriers to trade in books, music, videos and movies."

The requests are to be formally made Tuesday, she announced on Monday. (Watch why the move is considered significant Video)

In reaction, the Chinese government "expressed on Tuesday great regret and strong dissatisfaction at the decision of the United States to file WTO cases against China," according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"It will seriously undermine the cooperative relations the two nations have established in the field and will adversely affect bilateral economic and trade ties", Xinhua quoted Wang Xinpin, spokesman with the Commerce Ministry as saying.

Schwab attributed the decision to "unacceptably high" piracy and counterfeiting levels in China and the inability to resolve U.S. concerns through bilateral dialogue.

"Inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in China costs U.S. firms and workers billions of dollars each year," Schwab said Monday. (Watch how pervasive piracy is in China Video)

"In the same vein, we have discussed with China in detail the harm to U.S. industries, authors and artists who produce books, journals, movies, videos, and music caused by limiting the importation of these products to Chinese state-owned entities," she added.

Chinese laws "hobble the distribution of foreign home entertainment products and publications within China," and such products are favorite targets for piracy, she added.

Under WTO procedures, a request for consultations is the first step in a WTO dispute. After a 60-day consultation period, the complaining party can refer the matter to a WTO dispute settlement panel, if no resolution is reached.

The Chinese government has not yet received a request for consultations from the United States, but will deliberate upon and actively respond to a formal request, said Wang, according to Xinhua.


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Officers confiscate piracy and pornographic DVDs during a raid on shops in Nanjing, China, in January.

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