China has stopped granting permission for American films to be shown in its theaters in an apparent trade dispute with the United States, according to several Hollywood executives and United States government officials.

The Chinese government has not announced any ban, but American movies are no longer being approved for release early next year, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Chinese action, these officials said, might be in retaliation for the decision by the United States last April to file an intellectual property rights case with the World Trade Organization. The filing was meant to pressure China to enforce more strictly its intellectual property rights laws against the pirating of American movies and to give American companies greater access to the Chinese market.

United States government officials said they had raised the issue of the ban or suspension of film approvals at high-level economic talks held in Beijing on Tuesday, but the officials did not say how China responded.

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