Asia Minute: Hollywood Might be Vulnerable in China Trade Skirmish

Apr 3, 2018

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The United States and China are continuing their trade dispute by exchanging threats and specifics on tariffs. China says it will raise tariffs on a variety of U.S. products, including pork. The Trump Administration is expected to release further details on its plans later this week. But so far one export has not been mentioned—and it doesn’t fit on a container ship. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

China is a growth market for the U.S. movie business.

It’s tightly regulated — only 34 Hollywood movies are allowed into China each year. But it’s also increasingly lucrative.

Forbes reports American-produced films grossed more than 3.25 billion dollars in China last year—up nearly 20 percent from the year before.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has been working on a deal to increase the number of American made movies allowed into the country. But Variety reports those talks are very likely to be disrupted by what’s going on with the broader trade picture.

China has previously used the movie business to score political points.

South Korea’s entertainment business was hit by a diplomatic dispute involving the deployment of the U.S. missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense—or THAAD.  In late 2016, Chinese authorities stopped the import of South Korean movies, and barred South Korean entertainers from TV programs and concerts.

Credit Thomas Wolf / Wikipedia

That tension has since dissipated.

Last year, no Korean movies were shown at the Beijing Film Festival. When this year’s version gets underway next week, it will include seven entries from South Korea.

Hollywood’s Chinese future is a little less certain.