October 24, 2005

Trade and Culture: Distinguishable? [8:17 am]

Dan Glicksman thinks so: Hollywood lobbyist concerned about protectionism [pdf]

Hollywood’s top lobbyist has fired a warning shot against countries that might be emboldened to use the newly approved UNESCO convention on cultural diversity as a means to block Hollywood movies.

“No one should use this convention to close their borders to a whole host of products,” Dan Glickman, the chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, told representatives of an annual French film industry conference held Friday in the Burgundy wine capital of Beaune, in eastern France.

“If countries start passing laws that are in contravention of World Trade Organization rules, there will be conflict,” he warned.

[...] “It appears to be more about trade than the promotion of cultural diversity. The World Trade Organization is the place for (trade),” Glickman said. “What’s to stop a country saying that it’ll only take 20% of U.S. films, or taxing our films but not its own?” he asked.

Glickman was a lone voice in Beaune not heralding the U.N. convention as a major triumph for free expression as a way to affirm cultural identity.

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