Beijing objects to an attempt by the United States to use the World Trade Organization to impose new obligations on China to crack down on pirated goods, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Wang Xinpei, a ministry spokesman, said China very much regretted Washington's decision on Monday to press its complaints over intellectual property rights (IPR) protection by requesting a formal case at the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.
The United States argues that slipshod Chinese rules have led to a booming industry in pirated American goods, including movies and software, costing American firms billions of dollars.
But Wang said China's IPR regulations are fully in line with the WTO's agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
We oppose any WTO member imposing any obligations other than TRIPS on developing members via the dispute settlement mechanism, Wang told a news conference.
The United States launched its challenge four months ago.
According to a statement issued by the U.S. Trade Representative's office, China and the United States met in June but failed to resolve their differences over the issue.
Wang said China had made many clarifications during the bilateral talks and had demonstrated great sincerity.
As for Washington's request that a panel settle the dispute, Wang said China was studying the situation.
A Chinese trade analyst doubted that the United States would win the case.
It's impossible for the WTO to force China to change its domestic laws as the United States wants, said Zhang Hanlin, head of the WTO research institute at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics.
The Bush administration wants to see more aggressive prosecution in China of those who pirate copyrighted or trademarked materials, and more stringent rules for what happens to pirated material once it is seized.
If it could force China to act, then it would be able to force every member of the WTO, Zhang said.