China opposed to U.S. listing Taobao as market for piracy

BEIJING Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:13pm EST

A man holds loudspeakers at the entrance to the Taobao office during a protest in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, November 24, 2011. REUTERS/Lang Lang

A man holds loudspeakers at the entrance to the Taobao office during a protest in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, November 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lang Lang

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is "greatly concerned and strongly opposed" to the United States' listing of Taobao, the country's largest consumer e-commerce website, as a notorious market for piracy, a spokesman for China's Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday.

Last month, the United States kept Alibaba Group's Taobao unit on the United States Trade Representative's November notorious markets list for offering a wide range of copyright infringing products.

"When referring to Chinese businesses, we noticed that the United States notorious market list would use terms like 'alledged' and 'according to industry information,'" Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said at a news conference.

"With ambiguous terms and no conclusive evidence or detailed analysis, this is very irresponsible and not objective," Shen said.

China believes the United States should take into account the efforts made by Chinese companies to fend off piracy.

"We urge the U.S. to take into account China's effort for IPR protection and the progress made on it and to make a more comprehensive, more objective, more fair evaluation," Shen said.

A USTR spokeswoman said the agency stood by its decision on Taobao, which she said was based on information collected from companies and other interested parties last year as part of a regular review of Internet and physical marketplaces where counterfeit and pirated goods are sold.

An interagency panel "reviewed all written submissions and selected a few of the most prominent examples of notorious markets in each category," the spokeswoman said.

The USTR removed Baidu Inc, China's largest search engine, from its list in a nod to the firm's efforts to clean up its music offerings.

China has intensified efforts to protect intellectual property in the country over the past few years. However, results have been mixed, because enforcement remains weak and inconsistent, and bootleg operators have been inventive in finding new ways to copy and sell counterfeits and knock-offs.

(Reporting by Zhou Xin, Melanie Lee and Doug Palmer; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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