Commissioner Mandelson unveils China strategy.

China must bolster its efforts to crack down on piracy and counterfeiting or face trade sanctions, European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said Tuesday (Oct. 24).

He was unveiling the Commission's new strategy for dealing with China, which was set out in a document called "Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities - A Policy Paper on EU-China Trade and Investment: Competition and Partnership."

Commenting on the policy, Mandelson warned that Beijing should take responsibility for copyright protection or face EU action at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

China is currently the fourth biggest supplier to Europe of pirated DVDs, CDs and cassettes (after Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan), accounting for 8% of seizures.

However, the Commission's strategy identifies China as the EU's first priority for intellectual property enforcement worldwide.

"While China has made welcome progress in setting up an intellectual property regime, loopholes remain and effective implementation and enforcement of laws remains uneven or lacking," the paper said.

Mandelson added that China's inexorable economic rise also implied responsibility. "China's growing trade muscle means growing expectations," he said. "China must fulfil its WTO obligations and commit to trading fairly. Europe must accept fierce competition. China must ensure it is fair competition."

The Commission also pledges to work with Beijing to help its customs-control authorities fight counterfeiting more effectively.