The Hon. Warren Truss, MP
The Hon. Warren Truss, MP

Media release

7 October, 2007

Australia and WTO Dispute on Intellectual Property between the US and China

Australia has decided to participate as a third party in the World Trade Organization dispute brought by the United States against China on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, the Australian Government Minister for Trade, Warren Truss, said today.

Several other WTO members - including Mexico, Japan and the EC - have also decided to become third parties. 

Mr Truss said the case raised important commercial and systemic issues in relation to WTO rules on intellectual property protection, including the meaning of counterfeiting or piracy 'on a commercial scale'.

"Participation as a third party does not mean we are taking sides in the case," Mr Truss said. "It does, however, allow us to register our views on the legal issues raised in the dispute."

The WTO dispute system explicitly allows for participation by third parties with a substantive interest in the matters raised in a dispute.

Such participation is common practice amongst WTO members - China itself has been a third party more than 40 times since joining the WTO in 2001.

Australia regularly participates as a third party in WTO cases where we have an interest. Current examples include the US and EC's cases against each other on civil aircraft subsidies, the US's case against India on duties applicable to wine and other imports, and the EC's case against Brazil on bans of imports of retreaded tyres. 

Media Inquiries: Minister Truss' office 02 6277 7420 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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