Media + WTO = No?

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While China has been hit at the WTO on (among other things) a recent ruling in the auto sector (is it a punitive tax or a measure to counteract tax evasion?), the media remains one of those “sensitive” industries that plays according to slightly different rules in China…so it is not much of a surprise that The FT reports:

    “The EU and US are to launch formal proceedings at the World Trade Organisation over China’s attempt to put the financial information businesses of international news providers under the control of local rival and regulator, Xinhua news agency.

    EU and US trade officials are expected to start the WTO dispute process by sending letters to Chinese counterparts today requesting consultations on regulations issued by Xinhua in late 2006.”

    Of course, there is always the potential for conflict when a regulator is also a commercial participant in the market. Fons at China Herald is on the case, and notes:

    “So, it still is laudable that both the EU and the US are trying to push the envelope, but it seems a rather symbolic effort. China, on its part, would rather leave the W.T.O. than give up on its media control. Nobody is willing to [go] that far, and China’s negotiators at the W.T.O. will know that.”

    Now that is a strong opinion! Might there not be room for just a little compromise?

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One Response to “Media + WTO = No?”

  1. Administrator Says:

    More news on this from Reuters –

    “…the director of China’s General Administration of Press and Publications, Liu Binjie, said that officials were discussing the possibility of one day ending state news agency Xinhua’s formal oversight role of foreign media and information providers, although he emphasised that no decision had been made.”

    It looks as though some change (or at least talk about it) may indeed be on the agenda.

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