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LEAD: WTO arbitrators rule China is illegally restricting U.S. software imports.

GENEVA, Dec. 21 Kyodo

(EDS: ADD INFO, COMMENTS)

The World Trade Organization's arbitrators on Monday upheld a ruling in favor of the United States over a software trade dispute with China.

Dismissing an appeal China filed in September against a WTO dispute settlement panel decision in August, the Appellate Body concluded that Beijing is illegally restricting imports of U.S. books, periodicals, newspapers, films and music software.

''Today America got a big win,'' U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk said in a statement. ''We are very pleased that the WTO has found against China's import and distribution restrictions on U.S. movies, music, DVDs and publications.''

He also said, ''The Appellate Body's findings are key to ensuring full market access in China for legitimate, high-quality entertainment products and the exporters and distributors of those products.''

In April 2007, the United States lodged complaints with the WTO against China for copyright piracy and restrictions on distribution of copyright-intensive products. The United States has claimed that the Chinese trade practices violate international trade rules.

The WTO panel ruled on Aug. 12 in support of the United States and called on Beijing to comply with its obligations as a WTO member to allow U.S. companies to import such products into China and to eliminate the discriminatory requirements faced by imported products and their U.S. distributors in China.

In the appeal, China had insisted that the trade practices in question should be allowed under an exceptional provision the WTO has set up to protect ''public morals.''

But the latest judgment by the Appellate Body said China has not demonstrated the restrictive measures are ''necessary'' to protect public morals.
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Publication:Asian Economic News
Date:Dec 28, 2009
Words:276
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