Monday, January 28, 2008
The BNA's WTO Reporter reports as follows (excerpt only; full story here):
The United States has signaled it will initiate new World Trade Organization dispute settlement proceedings against China to address a standing U.S. complaint regarding Chinese restrictions on foreign financial information service providers.
Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said a letter was sent by the United States to China Jan. 25 warning that U.S. patience on the issue has finally run out. As a result, barring quick action by Beijing, Washington is expected to initiate proceedings by requesting WTO dispute consultations with China.
At issue is a September 2006 administrative measure issued by China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency prohibiting foreign financial information services such as Bloomberg or Reuters from selling their services directly to Chinese domestic clients. Instead, the measure requires the foreign news services to operate through an agent designated by Xinhua.
To date, the only agent designated by Xinhua is a Xinhua affiliate.
For a great story of an earlier attempt by Xinhua to control (and profit from) the information flow from foreign providers, see James McGregor, One Billion Customers (2007), pp. 129 ff.