China Denies It Gave In To U.S. In Talks On Piracy

China said Tuesday it was advancing its own interests - not giving in to American demands - by launching a crackdown on illicit copying of American movies, music and computer programs.

A day after his country averted a trade war with the United States, Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang played down the U.S. role in getting China to move against copyright pirates.

“This by no means indicates that the Chinese side has made a major concession,” he said at the ministry’s weekly news briefing.

The latest showdown erupted after the Clinton administration accused China of shirking a 1995 agreement to stop the copyright violations, which American companies claim cost them $2.3 billion last year in lost sales.

After five days of talks in Beijing, the chief U.S. negotiator, acting Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, said Monday that China gave in to all major U.S. demands.

After Monday’s agreement, Washington dropped its plan to impose punitive tariffs on $2 billion in Chinese textiles and other goods, and China revoked its threat to retaliate.

Critics charged that China was unlikely to honor pledges to crack down on factories churning out millions of illegal copies of American works.

Barshefsky said China agreed to close factories producing pirate CDs, halt exports of pirated goods and open its markets to U.S. film and software.

Barshefsky said American officials will help monitor enforcement.

At the news briefing, Shen called for “closer cooperation … on intellectual property rights protection.”

But he called the pledge to close factories “a requirement of China’s drive of reform … instead of to meet the demand of the United States.”

Shen said that during the talks, the United States reaffirmed its support for China to join the World Trade Organization.

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