WASHINGTON: Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday that China has agreed to significantly improve market access for American movies, capping a week-long visit by China's leader-in-waiting that led to billions of dollars in business deals.
"This agreement with China will make it easier than ever before for US studios and independent filmmakers to reach the fast-growing Chinese audience, supporting thousands of American jobs in and around the film industry," Biden said in a statement after Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's whirlwind tour to the United States.
The agreement allows more American exports to China of 3D, IMAX, and similar enhanced-format movies on favorable commercial terms, the US Trade Represenative's office said.
"This is a major step forward in spurring the growth of US exports to China," Chris Dodd, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said in a statement.
"It has long been a top priority for the MPAA, and it is tremendous news for the millions of American workers and businesses whose jobs depend on the entertainment industry."
The US movie industry has long complained about China's tight restrictions on the number of foreign films allowed into the country each year, a limit that they say helps fuel demand for pirated DVDs that are widely available in China.
While the quota of 20 foreign films per year remains in place, Beijing granted other concessions that pleased Hollywood.
The deal strengthens the opportunities to distribute films through private enterprises rather than the state film monopoly, and ensures fairer compensation levels for US blockbuster films distributed by Chinese state-owned enterprises, USTR said.
The agreement will be reviewed after 5 years to ensure that it is working as envisioned, USTR said.
Copyright Reuters, 2012