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KAI RYSSDAL: Pick your favorite brand-new movie, chances are you can already find a bootleg DVD on the streets of Shanghai for just a couple of bucks. Today, for what seems like the umpteenth time, Washington talked tough on Chinese piracy. Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports from Washington the U.S. Trade Representative is set to file two new China complaints with the World Trade Organization.
JOHN DIMSDALE: Despite years of jawboning over China’s counterfeit market for books and CDs and DVDs, Trade representative Susan Schwab says Chinese piracy costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars.
SUSAN SCHWAB: This is more than a handbag here or a logo there. It is often theft on a grand scale. It is not fair, and we must thwart the pirates and counterfeiters who are responsible.
Today’s piracy crackdown follows U.S. limits on imports of Chinese paper, announced less than two weeks ago.
This tougher line by Bush Administration trade officials is welcomed by Congress and the recording and movie industries. But it’s making some businesses that have opened Chinese markets nervous.
Some pharmaceutical and software companies worry about retaliation. With good reason, according to intellectual property lawyer Lester Ross in Beijing.
LESTER ROSS: It could see stricter enforcement at, for example, at china’s ports with respect to imports from the United States or some other country.
But the president of the U.S. China Business Council, John Frisbie — representing 250 U.S. companies — says trade disputes are normal.
JOHN FRISBIE: For a commercial relationship that is now as large and complex as ours is with China, we prefer to see dialogue as the preferred means to resolve them. But when that doesn’t happen, then we have recourse to things like the WTO to try to get resolution.
Which is why, Frisbie says, China’s entry into the WTO five years ago was so important.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.
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