China's Cabinet Issues Order for Better Protection of Copyrights China's Cabinet Issues Order for Better Protection of Copyrights
BEIJING (AP) --
China's cabinet has issued an order to track down and harshly punish those who illegally reproduce popular books, music, movies and other products.

The move by the State Council came on the eve of U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor's arrival here Friday for the signing of a landmark agreement on protection of copyrights, patents and trademarks.

``Strong action will be taken against places where bogus products are made, circulated and sold,'' the order said, reiterating steps laid out in the trade deal reached Feb. 26 after almost two years of haggling.

On March 1, China began a six-month enforcement period during which it is supposed to raid all suspected copyright violators, particularly those engaged in illegal production of compact discs, laser discs and CD- ROM software.

The State Council order said companies suspected of involvement in the publication, duplication, import, wholesaling or renting of pirated products would be inspected ``one by one.''

It also said that publicity and education would be key components of the effort to end piracy, which that U.S. businesses say costs them more than $1 billion a year in lost Chinese revenues.

Kantor, who will sign the trade agreement on Saturday, also is expected to discuss China's efforts to join the World Trade Organization during his visit.

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