China and U.S. Sign Agreement on Copyright Protection China and U.S. Sign Agreement on Copyright Protection

Associated Press Writer BEIJING (AP) --

China signed an agreement Saturday to crack down on patent and copyright piracy and to lower import barriers for American movies, but there were indications the dispute that brought them to the brink of a trade war isn't over.

U.S. officials say nearly all computer software sold in China is copied illegally, and that factories in the south were turning out 75 million pirated compact discs a year, mostly for export.

The 28-page agreement signed by Foreign Trade Minister Wu Yi and U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was reached on Feb. 26, the deadline set by the Clinton administration for imposing punitive sanctions on $1 billion in Chinese imports. China had said it would retaliate.

The agreement says U.S. movies will be allowed into China with fewer restrictions, but Wu told a news conference that some market-access issues remain to be worked out. She did not elaborate.

Wu also claimed the United States agreed in 1992 to support China's admission to the World Trade Organization if China would further open its markets. Instead, Washington blocked China from becoming a founding member of the WTO, which promotes free world trade.

``We have a saying, `Courtesy demands reciprocity.' The Chinese side is entitled to express its displeasure and take corresponding actions,'' Wu said.

Kantor denied there was a bargain in 1992.

China did open its markets as a result of the agreement, but not enough, he said. The United States wants China to drop its barriers for imports of agricultural products, including citrus fruits and wheat, computers, services, heavy equipment and other industrial products.

China, meanwhile, has ``virtually free and open access'' to the U.S. economy, Kantor said. The United States had a $29 billion trade deficit with China last year.

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