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The World Trade Organization has ruled that China must drop its import restrictions on foreign media products. The ruling is a victory for the United States, which had filed the complaint, saying that China’s rules stipulating that imports of books, films, and music be routed through state-owned companies were in violation of free trade rules.
The Chinese government can still appeal the decision.The issue is a sensitive one for China, which sees state control over private media as essential for maintaining power.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk hailed the ruling, saying, “Today, a WTO panel handed a significant victory to America’s creative industries.” However, U.S. media companies will still face major obstacles in China including a law that caps the number of foreign films released in China at 20 per year and a flourishing black market for movies and music.