Trade Talks Gag Local Industry

ED: "The View From Here:"
Local Industries To Suffer From Howard's Trade Talks With U.S.

Movie-goers and T.V. viewers in Australia will not be the only ones to be affected from likely changes to the 'free-trade' arrangements between the two countries.

The number of overseas films being shown here is certain to rise even higher than it's present level of 97%.

Prime Minister John Howard has stated that he is happy to accept the American push to ensure that all "content" that will be stored digitally in the future is not included in current limitations on the screening of foreign productions.

This can only have the effect of rapidly shrinking the amount of Australian film and television made, including in Melbourne, down to little more than a mediocrity.

Both the big and small screens will be further dominated by Hollywood, as practically all work is heading towards being kept in this format.

As Naomi Klein illustrated so well in her books No Logo and Fences And Windows, these kinds of deals only benefit one side in the 'negotiations.'

In a recent example, Mexican authorities were forced to drop plans for a small levy on cinema tickets when their more powerful 'partners' in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) objected to this idea as a "restraint of trade."

As Klein points out, it is difficult to see how NAFTA has helped in that poorer nation. Since it came into operation in January 1994, real wages have dropped, unemployment has risen, and now three-quarters of the population of Mexico live in poverty.

It is for these sorts of reasons that many people across Australia and Europe, as well as Latin America, are questioning the fairness of the trade agreements that our leaders are rushing into.

Related:
The author, Naomi Klein also has a web-presence at : www.fireandwater.com and there is a related site at : www.fencesfund.org



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