HC Deb 22 April 1994 vol 241 c708W
Mr. Nigel Evans

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken by the Board of Trade to ensure copyright protection and enforcement is being carried out or prepared in(a) eastern Europe and (b) China.

Mr. McLoughlin

The Government are fully supporting European Community initiatives to achieve effective protection of copyright in eastern Europe, since we believe that this is now the most effective way of bringing influence to bear in that area. Six countries in the region—Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Poland and Romania—have now signed association agreements with the Community, a specific condition of which is that both the level of intellectual property protection and the means of enforcing rights must be brought up to a standard comparable to that in the Community.

My Department has also been active over several years in making representations to the Chinese authorities to the effect that China should enact copyright laws conforming to international standards of protection, which they have now done. China's recent accession to the Berne copyright convention and the phonograms convention means that China is obliged to protect British and other foreign rights owners under their new laws to at least the same standard as their own nationals, and the Government will take up with the Chinese authorities any failure to meet these obligations where clear evidence exists.

Moreover, the recently concluded general agreement on tariffs and trade sets standards both on the level of copyright protection and on its enforcement, and includes remedies for failure to meet these standards. China hopes to become a party to the GATT and will, therefore, be expected to abide by these standards.