Majors mull new trade tariffs in Argentina

Country aims to get Hollywood studios to export local content

Argentina hopes to extend trade tariffs to persuade U.S. majors who bring films into the country for exhibition to export Argentinean content abroad, including films and TV series.

This will help sustain production in a country where Hollywood dominates the box office.

The government invited execs from Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and WB to a first round of talks Tuesday after sending them the details of 120 films from 40 producers and dozens of TV productions on offer from Dori Media Group, Endemol and Telefe Intl. among others.

“It is important to export grains, machinery, technology, but it is very important to export our culture, our values,” Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said to loud applause at the meeting.

The tariffs already apply to the car industry where BMW, for instance, has to export goods from Argentina to equal the value of the cars it sells to the country.

Liliana Mazure, prexy of the Incaa national film board, suggested each major would have to export four to five Argentine features a year and a number of TV series. A price for films and series would be set for each territory, with payments made upfront and not based on results.

This may be a sticking point for the majors, which are studying the government’s proposal.

Pablo Sahores, Disney’s director of theatrical distribution in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, said its affil, Patagonik Film Group, is already exporting local films.

He believes Disney “should have no difficulty in fulfilling the government’s proposal, for film exports at least.”

This is the government’s latest push to boost production and expand outlets for the busiest film industry in Latin America, which puts out 100 features a year.

It has launched a DTT system for local producers and hiked taxes on foreign distribution, hoping to get more screen time in a market where Hollywood dominates 85% of admissions.