China “regrets” WTO ruling, says may appeal

BEIJING - China defended its controls on imported films and books and said on Thursday it regretted a World Trade Organisation ruling against its restrictions and may appeal.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Thu 13 Aug 2009, 8:17 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:45 AM

The country’s Ministry of Commerce said China “felt regret” that a panel had not rejected a United States complaint about those restrictions, which have brought complaints from Hollywood.

“China will conscientiously assess the ruling report of the expert panel and does not exclude the possibility of appealing on China’s points of concern,” said the statement in Chinese issued on the Ministry’s website (

“The channels for foreign publications, films and audio-visual products entering the Chinese market are extremely open,” said the statement.

If China appeals against the ruling, it will add to the trade disputes pitting Beijing against the Obama administration.

The WTO panel said on Wednesday that China’s regime for books and films breaks international trade rules and should be revised.

It was the third time a WTO panel had ruled against China, which is becoming increasingly assertive in pressing its own complaints against other countries at the world trade body.

The panel, ruling in a case brought by the United States, said China’s system for importing and distributing the material also breached the terms of China’s entry to the WTO in 2001.

The United States immediately welcomed the ruling, which it said meant China Film Group could no longer be China’s sole importer of foreign films.

The ruling did not overturn China’s right to keep out foreign films it finds objectionable. But the panel did say China could not use its censorship goals to justify trade barriers that violate WTO rules, U.S. officials said.

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