South Korea’s movie industry ground to a halt on Wednesday, as dozens of stars and hundreds of film workers protested against a government move to cut protection for the industry to smooth free trade talks with the United States.
One of Asia’s best known movie stars stood in front of the National Assembly in Yoido, Seoul, holding a picket which read: ``Be a friend of the screen quota system and we will flap Taegukgi in the world.’’
Members of the local film industry on Wednesday started their all-night relay rally against the government’s decision to halve the screen quota system.
A reduction in the mandatory screening days for domestic films would pave the way for a coalition between the film industries of South Korea and the United States, said Tami Overby, president of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Korea, Wednesday.
Hollywood will get greater access to South Korea’s movie market after the government said Thursday that it would cut in half the quota of homegrown films that must be shown in the country’s cinemas.
South Korea is expected to announce the start of free trade negotiations with the United States on February 2, a government source said Thursday.
South Korea on Thursday decided to halve its 40-year-old screen quota, the mandatory period for theaters to show domestic films a year, to 73 days to clear the way for its free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.
South Korea said it would reduce by half its screen quota for domestically produced films, in a move aimed at facilitating talks with the United States on a free trade agreement (FTA).
Work on talks for a free trade pact between Korea and the United States has been accelerating since President Roh Moo-hyun’s New Year’s address. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently announced it would hold a public hearing early next month to gather opinions on such a pact. Accordingly, the government is likely to soon declare the start of negotiations with Washington.
The government is hurrying to conclude a free trade agreement with the United States before June 2007 at the latest. It appears natural for Korea to facilitate the FTA process with America, the world’s largest economy and Seoul’s greatest ally. The biggest stumbling block is the screen quota, a protective device for the domestic film industry, or so says Washington.
The government Friday launched a campaign to reduce the screen quota in exchange for starting bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) talks with the United States.
The atmosphere is ripe for starting talks with the United States for a tariff-free trade scheme, which, if realized, may change this country’s overall industrial picture as never before. But an FTA with giant, advanced economies, like America’s, requires a very careful approach.
The chairman of the bishops’ International Policy Committee Monday offered a Catholic perspective on a pending free trade agreement, suggesting that the United States and several Andean nations could simultaneously promote human dignity and fair and sustainable development.
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe says the Australian government has buckled to United States pressure over free trade.
The Ministry of Finance and Economy seeks to slash the screen quota to the number of days demanded by the US before proceeding with the stagnating Korea-U.S. bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and free trade agreement (FTA) talks.
The United Nations cultural body adopted an international treaty Thursday to protect cultural diversity. This a moral victory, but the real test is whether developing countries will resist US pressure to commit their audiovisual and information services to bilateral trade agreements.
The long-running dispute over Korea’s screen quota system is moving onto new ground: the quota’s supporters are rallying around the final draft of a Unesco convention that would exclude the cultural industries in all of the organization’s member states from free trade agreements or World Trade Organization bylaws.
Security has been so dominant in the past in Seoul’s relations with Washington, its sole military ally, that other crucial agenda items have often failed to draw adequate attention from top South Korean policymakers.
The US Trade Representative (USTR), raising doubts about South Korea’s commitment to a bilateral free trade agreement, pressed the Asian trading partner Tuesday to be "unambiguous" in supporting it.
The free trade agreement with the United States threatens Thailand’s ecological biodiversity and cultural uniqueness, researchers warned yesterday. Visut Baimai, director of the Biodiversity Research and Training Programme, said he feared the FTA would accelerate deforestation to grow profitable single-crop plantations. This, he said, could undermine both the ecosystem and sustainable economic development.