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France to defend cultural exceptions on trade “to the end”
France said it would ensure cultural exceptions on its products were preserved in any transatlantic trade deal, a stance which might block the planned opening of talks between the European Union and Washington.
“France defends and will defend the cultural exception to the end - that’s a red line,” Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti told Reuters TV, adding that France would do this “even if it is alone in doing so”.
Asked if Paris would go as far as blocking the opening of the talks, for which the EU’s executive Commission wants member states to give it a negotiating mandate at a meeting, she replied: “France is extremely determined.”
France has long defended the system of subsidies and other state support for European film, radio and other audio-visual products at the heart of the cultural exception, arguing they are vital to preserve cultural diversity in the face of Hollywood-driven market forces.
Filippetti said Europe’s cultural and entertainment sectors were major industries in their own right, employing an estimated 6.7 million people. (Reuters)
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