On Tuesday, the United States sent a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) concerning the excessive amount of piracy of American products that occur each year. Two cases have been submitted, one stating that Beijing's lack of enforcement violates WTO rules, while the other argues that the illegal products hurt sales of legitimate media.
The accusation comes two years after an initial threat to file a complaint by the U.S. government, which says that due to the illegal piracy, billions of dollars are lost in sales for music, software and publishing companies. U.S. trade representative Susan Schwab stated that the piracy and counterfeiting levels in China continue to remain unacceptably high.
China is a huge contributor to counterfeit products across the world, many of which find their way to Europe and are bought by shoppers seeking a deal. Popular counterfeited items include software, movies, DVDs, car parts, shoes, designer clothing and luggage.
The reaction from China's state news agency was that China "expressed great regret and strong dissatisfaction at the decision." A 60-day period of negotiations will follow to try to come to an agreement. If no conclusion is reached, the WTO will make a final decision.