1 December 2003

Arts has good access to US: Vaile

The Australian film and television industry already had good access into the United States and a trade deal was aimed at helping farmers gain the same access, Trade Minister Mark Vaile said.

Mr Vaile said a trade deal with America would also prove a bonus to Australian car part manufacturers, particularly those in regional areas.

Negotiations get underway later on Monday in Washington for the final round of talks for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA).

Australia's film and television industry has raised concerns it will be used as a bargaining chip by the federal government to gain improved access for farmers to key American agricultural markets.

Mr Vaile said negotiations were coming down to sensitive issues.

He said improving farm access was a core objective of the government, and getting that access to a level equivalent to that enjoyed by the film and television sector.

Short version: We fold on the arts issues because artists are part of the evil elites and hold firm on the PBS and farming because we need to hold seats in rural Australia and everybody uses the PBS.

Long version: We know that the arts actually face large, if non-tariff, barriers (production run issues, the US media oligopsony, coordinated production and distribution chains) to the US market but with any luck non-tariff protection will prove very difficult to explain to the electorate. So we can betray the artists (who are all elitist lefties anyway) while pleasing the farmers (who are all solid upright sons of the soil) and promote our nationalist credentials by perhaps maintaining the PBS.

Now if Cousin George will just do the decent thing for his Little Mate...

No comments: