Australia to join WTO dispute betweeen US and China

Australia to join WTO dispute betweeen US and China

Canberra: Australia will become a third party in a World Trade Organization dispute between the United States and China over market access restrictions for American movies, music and books, said the Australian trade minister.

The WTO launched an investigation last month into Chinese restrictions on the sale of such products Washington’s fourth commercial complaint against Beijing in a little over a year.

The US says that less favourable distribution opportunities in China for foreign-made CDs, DVDs and computer software have cost its media companies millions of dollars.

Announcing that Australia would join the dispute, Trade Minister Simon Crean said his government was not taking sides. Third party status would give Australia an opportunity to register its views on key issues.

“This case raises important market access issues for Australia’s business interests, especially for sound recordings," the Aussie minister said in a statement.

Australia has a free trade agreement with the United States, it is negotiating a similar pact with China, its biggest trade partner. Other WTO members, including Japan, have also decide to become third parties in the dispute.