Korean Actors Oppose End to Quota on US Films

For the last several decades, mainstream American films made in Hollywood have found a lucrative market around the world, controlling over 80 percent of the entire world market. In Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, watching Hollywood films is a unique opportunity for many to vicariously experience 'America.' For American filmmakers, the overseas market for Hollywood films is a substantial source of revenue. They aggressively court key markets like Japan, Australia, and countries in South and Southeast Asia and Europe. The enormous popularity of Hollywood films globally has not been without protests, however. According to the following article, South Korean actors and film directors are protesting the government's decision to ease the quota on the number of days American films can be screened in theaters. They argue that doing so will "kill the local movie industry." It is not just the private American filmmaking sector that is advocating the ease in quota. Rather, it is the US government that is pressuring the South Korean government to ease quotas if South Korea wants to sign a bilateral investment treaty with the US. – YaleGlobal

Korean Actors Oppose End to Quota on US Films

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

SEOUL - Top actors and directors yesterday opposed calls to ease a state quota on the number of Hollywood films allowed to be screened in South Korean cinemas, saying it would kill the local movie industry.

The stars also accused the government of bowing to US pressure to ease the country's 35-year-old 'screen quota' to seal a trade pact.

Seoul was reportedly considering dropping or easing the quota to speed up talks on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with the US.

'Stop conspiring to end or change the screen quota,' some 50 film actors, actresses and directors wearing purple and yellow bands chanted at a news conference in Seoul.

Since 1967, local cinemas have been forced under a mandatory quota to screen local movies for at least 146 days per year.

Supporters of the quota system say that without it the local movie industry would have been killed off by Hollywood, which controls over 80 per cent of the world market.

But the South Korean film policy came under attack when US Deputy Trade Representative Jon Huntsman visited Seoul last week and warned Washington would not resume talks on the BIT, local news media said.

Mr Choi Hyuck, Deputy Minister for Trade at the Foreign Ministry, was quoted by the English-language Korea Herald as saying it was 'time to reconsider the law' on the quota.

However a Foreign Ministry official, who asked not to be named, said there were no plans to repeal or ease the current screen policy.

Copyright © 2003 Singapore Press Holdings.