GENEVA — The United States has defeated China in a wide-ranging ruling at the World Trade Organization that could provide massive market opportunities for American makers of everything from CDs and DVDs to music downloads and books.
The verdict Wednesday finds definitively against China for forcing American media producers to route their business in China through Chinese state-owned companies.
It could also set a larger precedent for others such as U.S. automakers claiming to be hampered by cumbersome distribution rules.
The WTO victory comes as President Barack Obama is being pressed to be tough on trade rules with China, which many Democrats in the U.S. Congress blame for America’s soaring trade deficits and lost manufacturing jobs.
The Associated Press reported the main findings of the then-confidential ruling last month, but the public release of the 464-page document on Wednesday revealed dozens of smaller decisions that support the complaints of trade associations representing record labels such as EMI and Sony BMG; publishers including McGraw Hill and Simon&Schuster; and, to a lesser extent, the major Hollywood studios.
It also offers hopes of greater business for Apple Inc.’s iTunes store, finding that China was breaking trade rules by preventing companies offering music downloads to computers and mobile phones from offering their services directly to Chinese customers.