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Hills urged to protect H’wood at GATT talks

Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) has fired off a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills asking that Hollywood not be left standing at the altar in the rush to complete world trade talks.

Hills has been conducting intense talks to wrap up a world trade accord before President Bush leaves office Jan. 20.

The talks have worried Motion Picture Assn. of America companies, particularly after reports surfaced that U.S. negotiators might cave in on a demand that European Community nations end programming quotas.

Mitchell, in a letter to Hills dated Dec. 14, said “I am writing to express my concern that a completed GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) agreement might not adequately protect the U.S. motion picture and television industry.”

Mitchell noted that U.S. film and TV programs generated a $ 3.5 billion trade surplus in 1991 and urged Hills”not to sign any agreement that fails to address the trade barriers against U.S. films and television programs.”

Chances for successful agreement on the trade talks appear to be diminishing. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that France may have killed the deal by refusing to endorse lower tariffs on agricultural products.

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