French love of film threatens trade talks

Jun 13, 2013, 4:52 PM EDT

In a world awash with the influence of Hollywood, the French film and television industry is something of an exception. It's seen as crucial to the country's cultural identity, and the government goes to extremes to protect it.

Ahead of free trade talks between Europe and the U.S. set to begin soon, France has opposed allowing access to film, TV, radio and Internet markets be included in the negotiations.



"France defends and will defend the cultural exception to the end  — for the President and the whole government, that's a red line," French Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti says.

The European Commission — which negotiates trade deals on behalf of member states — is seeking a compromise so negotiations can start in July, and has already promised to leave countries' cultural subsidies out of the talks.

E.U. trade chief Karel De Gucht will reportedly propose to European trade ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Friday that they would be consulted before the Commission entered any talks with Washington on access to film, TV, radio and Internet markets.