China set to appeal WTO ruling

MUMBAI: China is all set to appeal against the World Trade Organisation‘s (WTO) last week ruling that could open the country‘s market for US movies, music and books.

The ruling ordered China to stop forcing US content owners to use government-controlled distribution companies. Currently all foreign movies in China are distributed by the state-owned China Film Group Corporation or a second company, Huaxia Film Distribution, which is part-owned by China Film.

However the ruling did not address China‘s import quotas including an annual quota of 20 revenue-sharing films. Chinese regulations demand that foreign films should not exceed one third of the total number of films distributed in the country. Another 30-40 foreign films a year are distributed on a flat-fee basis.

"We are preparing the necessary documents and are not ruling out the possibility of an appeal," said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian. He added that the Chinese cultural sector suffers from a huge trade deficit and that "our competitiveness is still pretty weak."

"Against this backdrop, I think it is appropriate and just for
China to impose some controls that are in line with the country‘s economic development stage, and cultural and historical tradition," Yao added.

China has 60 days from the 12 August ruling to appeal or then it will passed to a vote among WTO member countries.

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