China Loses Trade Dispute with the United States

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Jul. 24 – The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the United States over a dispute that accused China of breaking international trade rules by restricting the distribution of American CDs, DVDs, books and computer software to Chinese state-owned companies, reports The Associated Press.

Two officials familiar with the ruling, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity, said the verdict was already released last June 23 but will only be made public on August 12.

The case was filed during the Bush administration and brought to light Chinese rules that was implemented on U.S.-made products but did not apply to Chinese products.

One example is that China required U.S. films go through only 1 or 2 designated distributors before being shown in the mainland although Chinese movies were not given the same treatment in the United States.

U.S. tech and media companies have said that Chinese rules were discriminatory and were costing companies millions of dollars.

Beijing and Washington can still appeal the WTO verdict on the case and countries found guilty of breaking international trade agreements can face sanctions.

The European Union also has a trade dispute with China over the issue of export restrictions on materials used to make aluminum, steel and other goods. On the other end, Beijing has filed a trade dispute against the United States ban on Chinese poultry.

The United States has been running a trade deficit with China for years with last year being the highest at US$266 billion. In May, its trade deficit with China rose  by 4.4 percent  to US$17.5 billion.