By  on September 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — China on Tuesday appealed a month-old ruling by the World Trade Organization that said the country’s barriers for intellectual property imports violate trade rules.

The WTO has 90 days to investigate China’s appeal before deciding to uphold, modify or reverse its ruling, which concluded China’s policies regarding the distribution of imported books, movies and music were inconsistent with the country’s WTO obligations.

The August decision was linked by trade experts with a WTO ruling in March in favor of the U.S. that addressed Chinese trademark and copyright infringement laws. The two WTO cases were seen as critical of China’s intellectual property rights enforcement, an important issue for the fashion industry.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures, the vast majority of counterfeit apparel and footwear comes from China.

U.S. officials were analyzing China’s appeal documents. “We will be going through the appeals process,” said a spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, adding: “We anticipate results of the appeal at the end of the year.”

The WTO appeal was filed as trade relations between the U.S. and China have soured after a decision by the Obama administration to levy tariffs against imported tires from China. President Obama and Chinese president Hu Jintao met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. The leaders will confer again at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday.

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