China's market for counterfeits: Is the U.S. Trade Representative really

trying to get China to crack down, or is it just seeking to exact revenge

on behalf of Google?



Finance East Day, People's Republic of China

U.S. Piracy Claim Against Baidu and Taobao Called 'Revenge' for Google Spat


Is the office of the U.S. Trade Representative cracking down on Chinese search engines Baidu and Taobao for being 'notorious markets' for pirated goods - or is it simply retaliating for Google's controversial withdrawal from the China market? According to this news item from China's state-controlled Finance East Day, one Chinese analyst suggests that Beijing must stand up to the U.S. for smearing Baidu and Taobao, and respond with 'counter-sanctions.'


By Wu Yimin [吴逸敏]


Translated by Sarah Chan


March 2, 2011


People's Republic of China - Finance East Day - Original Article (Chinese)

Recently, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative created a major stir by listing [search engines] Baidu and Taobao as "notorious markets," accusing the companies of selling pirated or counterfeit goods. The two companies failed to respond to requests for comment.


The U.S. Trade Representative said in a report that Baidu's use of "deep-linking" to lead buyers into buying pirated goods is the most prominent example. The information for such products are usually stored on third-party Web sites. Deep linking leads users directly to a specific Web page, but not a home page. And although Taobao has made "significant efforts" in the fight against counterfeit products, the USTR reports says it still has "a long way to go" in order to eliminate the problem.


Taobao didn't publicly respond yesterday. But the company doesn't think the counterfeit goods problem is worsening, and has said it's committed to protecting intellectual property rights. Recently, Taobao Chief Financial Officer Zhang Yong told reporters that it is the duty and obligation of Taobao to respond to national calls to cooperate with the government to protect intellectual property. He also said that only with great difficulty can business successfully battle counterfeiting.


He said, for example, that there are millions of sellers and over 800 million products on Taobao, and that the company has adopted several automated and manual means of investigation to crack down on counterfeit products, including reports from consumers. Last year, the company dealt uncovered over 14 million pirated products, but was unable to completely eliminate the problem of counterfeits. The company has announced plans to join forces with the nine government ministries to crack down on counterfeit goods and regularly provide police with information on those businesses selling fake products.


Expert: Using 'notorious' to suppress Chinese firms


Xie Mingdun, professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, says that the U.S. Trade Representative has unilaterally developed a set of one-sided standards, finds fault with foreign firms, is using intellectual property rights to suppress Chinese enterprises, and is acting in retaliation for Google's withdrawal from China market.


Xie Mingdun also suggested that with Chinese businesses being so unfavorably labeled when no single enterprise is capable of addressing the problem, the government must respond and not allow individual businesses to fall victim to this policy of trade suppression. He suggested that while China should strengthen legislation on intellectual property rights, it also needs to take a much harder line when it comes to America's complaints and initiate counter-sanctions.


Recently, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said there are over 30 Internet and physical markets that sell counterfeit and pirated goods on "notorious markets." Chinese businesses mentioned as "notorious markets" include, Silk Street, Beijing Dragon and Shanghai Yangpu Ego Digital City, Shenzhen Luohu Market, Hong Kong Ladies Market, Yiwu Commodities Market, mobile entertainment portal and TV Ants.


In addition, the list also includes Ecuador, Paraguay, Indonesia, Argentina, India, Ukraine, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Pakistan and Colombia as notorious physical markets.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 6, 6:45pm]


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