The WTO has ruled in favour of Hollywood in its fight to open up the Chinese market in a development that Motion Picture Association Of America chief Dan Glickman said would “even the playing field.”

The ruling follows a challenge brought in April 2007 by the US Trade Representative against Chinese monopolies on imports and distribution of American films on the mainland.

While WTO chiefs did not address China’s 20-film quota that remains in place, they struck down both the above sets of restrictions and said that China’s laws do not prevent opening the market to competition.

“The WTO decided in the US government’s favour on virtually every count, declaring some of China’s most difficult barriers to its entertainment market to be clear violations of international trade rules,” Glickman said. “The decision points a way forward that will begin to even the playing field in this important market.

“The Chinese system for distributing US films to Chinese audiences is among the most restrictive and burdensome in the world,” Glickman continued.

“After years of pressing the Chinese to ease these barriers it is potentially promising that the Chinese government has now, in its own words, indicated that a pathway does exist to ensure that US films are treated in a more even-handed manner and more in line with accepted commercial practices.”