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Kai Ryssdal: Today was a win win for the White House on the foreign-trade front. Win number one came with the release of the trade deficit numbers for June. Imports bounced back, that’s a sign consumers are starting to spend again. Exports stabilized as well, good news for American manufacturers. Win number two came courtesy of the World Trade Organization. The WTO ruled today China broke free-trade agreements by restricting U.S. imports of books and other media. That could open up the Chinese market for American publishers and film studios. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more.
AMY SCOTT: U.S. media producers have long complained about restrictions, like having to sell their products through state-owned Chinese companies. A WTO panel decided many of those barriers violate its rules.
JIM BACCHUS: What this ruling will do is now enable American businesses to have direct access.
Jim Bacchus is a lawyer with the China Copyright Alliance. It represents the motion picture, recording, and publishing industries.
BACCHUS: China is already an important market for these industries, and it can be all the more significant if they allow the market access that they told other members of the WTO, including the United States, they would allow.
The victory wasn’t complete. Foreign films will still have to be distributed by one of two Chinese companies. And the ruling could be tough to enforce. China can also appeal. Porter Bibb is a media analyst and a long-time investor in China.
PORTER BIBB: There are many, many forces besides the WTO which are tending to liberalize and open up the Chinese market. They just really want to have the same opportunities in China that people in the western world have.
Of course, western movies and music are already widely available in China in bootleg form. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the ruling paves the way for legitimate American products to beat out the pirates.
In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.
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