Publishers Support U.S. Government Trade Suits Against China

April 12, 2007
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April 12 – April 19, 2007 Edition

Publishers Support
U.S. Government Trade
Suits Against China

Washington, DC/4/9/07–The Association of American Publishers (AAP) expressed support for today’s announcement of an imminent U.S. government filing of two World Trade Organization (WTO) cases regarding China’s intellectual property protection and market access commitments. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the anticipated Tuesday filing of two Requests for Consultations with the People’s Republic of China, the first step in the WTO’s clearly defined mechanism for settling disputes among members.

Despite some steps taken by the Chinese government to attempt to address the problem of intellectual property theft, copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting remain endemic, causing serious economic damage to all producers of legitimate products. In addition, China has failed to fulfill its commitments as a WTO member to liberalize restrictive importation and distribution practices that hobble the ability of foreign companies to do business in the Chinese market.

AAP President and CEO Pat Schroeder recently told a Congressional committee that by conservative estimates AAP member publishers lost $52 million from the piracy of books and journals in China in 2006 [more than double the estimated total value of legitimate book exports to China last year], and that figure does not include digital piracy on the Internet. Speaking about today’s announcement by USTR, Mrs. Schroeder said: “These proceedings stand to benefit not only foreign companies with intellectual property interests, but legitimate Chinese companies and ultimately, consumers, by promoting a more open, vibrant market for creative products.” She remarked that AAP has built strong relationships with the Chinese government and the Chinese publishing industry, and plans to continue working with Chinese and other foreign publishers to bring attention to issues of common concern.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

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