[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Keep the screen quota

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Keep the screen quota

After the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced plans to cut back on the screen quota, there have been heated discussions. Many people point out that the movie industry should make a concession for the sake of a bilateral investment treaty between Korea and the United States.
But I have never heard a convincing logic explaining the claims.
Many people question the effectiveness of the bilateral investment treaty. Some critics even say the treaty is an unfair one that enables foreign hot money to rake in massive profits. Korea’s treaty with Japan led to a drop in direct investments, and even a World Bank report on bilateral investment treaties worldwide questions their effectiveness, stating that they have minimal or no effect on attracting new investments.
Some people believe that the signing of the treaty will lead to a free trade agreement. This is not true, as is visible in countries that have signed such agreements with the United States beginning last year, including Australia and Chile. Some critics also predict that such an agreement with the United States will have a negative effect on the nation’s trade balance.
Some people attribute the growth of Korea’s movie industry to the opening of the market rather then the screen quota. This is also false. Conservative predictions say the market size for Korean films will drop by 32.8 billion ($28 million) for each day the current 146-day screen quota is cut back.
The expiration period of the treaty is 20 years. If everything proceeds as planned, the domestic movie industry, along with the screen quota, should prepare for a temporary death for 20 years, because Hollywood is ready to pounce.

by Lee Hae-young
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