China concerned by inclusion on U.S. intellectual property watch list

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is seriously concerned by the United States keeping it on an intellectual property watch list, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.

The issue of protecting intellectual property (IP) has been a consistent, long-standing irritant in relations between the world’s two largest economies.

Despite repeated promises by the Chinese government to get tough, pirated and fake goods continue to be widely available in the country.

The latest report by the U.S. Trade Representative, issued late April, said there were “serious challenges” for U.S. IP holders trying to protect their rights in China, and called on China to improve its policies and rules.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said at a routine news briefing that the United States should fulfill its promises to evaluate China’s efforts on IP protection fairly and objectively.

The U.S. report “lacks objective standards and fairness, and has been broadly opposed by relevant countries”, he said.

“China pays great attention to protecting intellectual property, has taken many effective measures and the situation continues to improve. The results are apparent to all,” Sun added.

China is willing to strengthen communication on IP issues with the U.S. to create a better legal environment for bilateral trade, he said.

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore