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Hollywood's push to open up China gets a big boost from WTO

December 21, 2009 | 12:51 pm

Hollywood has won a big battle in its fight to open up the Chinese market.

The World Trade Organization today threw out China's appeal of its earlier ruling that said Beijing can't force foreign media firms to distribute their content through Chinese-owned entities.

"With today’s rejection of China’s appeal, the WTO has taken a major step forward in leveling the playing field for America’s creative industries seeking to do business in China," said Motion Picture Assn. of America Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Glickman in a statement. 

When China appealed the WTO ruling three months ago, it charged that the WTO had "committed errors of law and legal interpretation" in its decision that dismissed China's claims that it needed the restrictions to "protect public morals."

Glickman said, "Gaining access to the Chinese market is of the utmost importance to the working men and women of this country." The WTO decision, he added, also will boost the fight to protect intellectual property. "In spite of all the restrictions we face, there is no shortage of U.S. filmed entertainment in China. Unfortunately, far too much of it is pirated."

Still in place, much to Hollywood's chagrin, is China's quota of only allowing 20 movies per year from around the world inside its borders.

-- Joe Flint