Korea Times, 4 Nov 2005
Seoul Moves to Cut Screen Quota
By Kim Sung-jin
The Ministry of Finance and Economy (MOFE) Friday resumed its efforts to reduce the screen quota for Korean films.
``The MOFE is discussing ways to reduce the screen quota while introducing diverse supplementary measures with related ministries,’’ Vice Minister of Finance and Economy Bahk Byoung-won said during a press meeting in Kwachon government complex located south of Seoul.
Bahk said the screen quota system no longer carries the utility as Korean cinema’s global competitiveness has grown significantly and the Korean films’ share in the domestic market has floated well above that of Hollywood films.
He said movie theaters are also showing Korean films longer than required by the screen quota system.
The screen quota system, first introduced in Korea in 1967, compels local movie theaters to show Korean films 146 days a year in order to protect and preserve the domestic film industry from foreign competition, particularly Hollywood.
The MOFE seeks to slash the screen quota to the number of days demanded by the U.S. before proceeding with the stagnating Korea-U.S. bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and free trade agreement (FTA) talks.
However, MOFE’s recommencement of efforts to reduce the screen quota is expected to re-ignite the screen quota row as the Korean film industry has been taking a solid stance against such a move for almost a decade.
The vice minister also reiterated that the MOFE has no intention to revise or alleviate the comprehensive anti real estate speculation measures introduced on Aug. 31.
Bahk added that LG Electronics downsized its investment plan for the Paju display cluster not because of regulations that ban construction and expansion of manufacturing facilities on the outskirts of Seoul, but rather because the electronics firm was not sure of its long-term investment plans after 2010.