Recent News Stories

  1. Taiwan govt announces subsidy dozen
  2. Han Han's debut opens big in China
  3. Kundo sets South Korea opening record
  4. Zhang Yimou sues for Noodle Story profit
  5. Bumper Asian crop at Venice
  6. Dead, End and Cartridge win at NAFF
  7. Disney and Parasyte to bookend Tokyo IFF
  8. Pokemon defeats Ghibli at Japan box office
  9. Nikkatsu, Toho-Towa launch Asian label
  10. Breakup Buddies, Mary Kom premiere in Toronto
  11. Uzumasa and Zone Pro win at NYAFF
  12. Hollow fills Vietnam cinemas
  13. Tiny Times 3 dazzles at China box office
  14. ChinaVision issues profit warning
  15. Hollow pushes new horror trend in Vietnam
  16. Misono and Clover announce additional cast
  17. Panna Rittikrai (1961-2014)
  18. Truth and Exit top Taipei Film Awards
  19. Film Bureau releases official 2014 numbers
  20. Tiny Times sequel sets China 2-D record
  21. iQiyi launches film division
  22. Kyoto festival to embrace film and art
  23. Asian trio competes at Locarno
  24. Bona launches Secret Treasure
  25. Planet of the Apes rises at Korea box office
  26. Maleficent takes second weekend in Japan
  27. Bona shifts shares
  28. Old Boys second-placed at China B.O.
  29. Summer HKIFF announces line-up
  30. Hiroki Ryuichi goes to Kabuki-cho
  31. Pia Film Festival announces 2014 lineup
  32. Chinese stars launch VC company
  33. SMG rumoured to acquire Galloping Horse
  34. Erik Matti, Kim Sung-soo join PiFan jury
  35. WCF supports Apichatpong's Cemetery
  36. Wulong Karst to sue Transformers producers
  37. Market share of South Korean films plummets
  38. Maleficent dethrones Frozen in Japan
  39. Transformers rules 2nd weekend in China
  40. 10 Minutes wins Taipei New Talent Competition

China misses WTO deadline


China misses WTO deadline

By Patrick Frater

Wed, 23 March 2011, 22:27 PM (HKT)


Industry News

China appears to have missed the deadline to comply with a World Trade Organisation (WTO) decision that it must loosen controls on the film industry. But US officials, for the moment at least, seem unwilling to play up the problem.

In a ruling last year the WTO said that China had until 19 Mar 2011 to announce its restrictions on the distribution of foreign films. So far China has not made any filing to the trade body, of which it became a member in 2001. That opens it to potential penalties.

The US Trade Representative, which filed the original complaint about media access, said it was disappointed.

"The US government is disappointed that China has not yet fully complied with the WTO ruling in this case, a lack of compliance which China has acknowledged," said Nkenge Harmon, a US Trade Representative spokeswoman was quoted as saying. "The U.S. government has communicated its concerns to China, and is working to ensure that China promptly brings its measures into full compliance."

The Hollywood studios, through the Motion Picture Association of America, said that a move by China may be close a hand.

"China made a commitment to comply with the WTO decision by March 19. We are disappointed China did not fulfil that commitment," said Greg Frazier, MPAA executive vice president and chief policy officer in a statement. "We understand, however, that the Chinese authorities are working to comply with the WTO's ruling and that the US government is actively engaged with the Chinese government to ensure that China meets its commitment."

In its decision in August 2009 the WTO ruled that, by requiring imported media products to be distributed through Chinese state-owned enterprises, China breaks the commitments to free trade that it signed up to when joining the WTO. The ruling did not overturn China's quotas on film imports.

China appealed against the ruling, but in December 2009 a WTO panel rejected China's appeal and set the 19 March 2011 deadline for compliance. At the time, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk characterised the ruling as "a big win" for American companies.

The right to distribute the imported films, including Hollywood blockbusters, remains with the two [state-owned] players China Film Group (中國電影集團公司) and Huaxia Film Distribution (華夏電影發行公司).

In a regular status report to the WTO from last week (15 March), China said it had disagreed with the ruling but was working to comply.

In a conference call with financial analysts and journalists earlier this month, Chinese distributor Bona Group (博納影業集團) said that its conversations with government led it to believe that the government might increase the import quota on revenue sharing films from its current 20 to perhaps 30 per year.

An opportunity for China to make an announcement could come later this week. It is scheduled to make a an appearance at a regular meeting of the WTO's dispute settlement body.


Sign up with your email address for our free weekly newsletter: