France Wants Entertainment Industries Out of Free Trade Talks

Protectionism of movie, television producers


France told fellow members of the European Union on Friday that the movie and television industry must be kept out of hotly anticipated free trade talks with the United States, even if it delays the formal start of negotiations next week.

Endorsing the start of trans-Atlantic trade talks was meant to have been one of the big events of President Barack Obama's trip to Europe next week. But at Friday's talks among EU trade ministers, France was sticking to its "cultural exception"—insisting state subsidies and restrictive quotas for movies and TV shows should stay out of the negotiations.

All other EU nations have vowed to protect the culture industry as well, but the large majority nevertheless wants it to be part of the talks. They fear that removing it would set off tit-for-tat claims on both sides.