In light of the recent disputes over the newly inked service trade agreement between Taiwan and mainland China, the Ministry of Culture has outlined the agreement’s impact upon the local cultural and creative industries below:
In the service trade agreement signed on June 21 in Shanghai, mainland China agreed to allow post-production and film processing of mainland movies in Taiwan, to allow movies in Taiwanese dialect to be released on the mainland, to permit Taiwanese companies to invest in theaters and concert halls, and to provide simplified customs clearance procedures for Taiwanese publications entering mainland China.
In return, the annual import quota on mainland Chinese movies has been raised from 10 to 15, and mainland investors are now allowed to hold a stake not exceeding 50 percent in theaters and concert halls in Taiwan.
The Taiwanese film industry has benefited since the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) took effect in 2010, because mainland China sets no quota on Taiwanese movies being released there, but Taiwan limited the annual import of mainland Chinese films to 10, the Ministry said.
As of the end of 2012, a total of 21 Taiwanese films were screened in mainland China, with box office receipts totaling NT$2.996 billion (US$99.827 million), according to statistics compiled by the Ministry. Some 20 mainland Chinese movies were screened in Taiwan during the same period, receiving only NT$24.575 million. The Ministry stated that it has decided to gradually relax the restrictions on mainland Chinese movies after a careful assessment.
In addition, the Ministry said that allowing Taiwanese companies to invest in theaters and concert halls in mainland China is expected to help Taiwanese performance teams enter the Chinese market, but Taiwan only agrees to allow mainland Chinese investors to hold a stake not exceeding 50 percent in theaters and concert halls here. On the whole, the relaxations by the two sides are beneficial to Taiwan, according to the Ministry.
The Ministry noted that to allow mainland Chinese investors, in moderation, to operate theaters or concert halls in Taiwan will not only increase the number of privately-run performance venues, but also create job opportunities in theater management and techniques.
The service trade agreement, which allows mainland Chinese films to have their post-production and processing done in Taiwan, is expected to benefit relevant local firms, the Ministry stated.
Through simplification of the customs clearance procedures for Taiwanese publications entering mainland China, the agreement is also expected to help Taiwanese publications enter the mainland market more easily.
The Ministry also emphasized that it will continue to strive for the opening of the mainland market, while safeguarding Taiwan’s cultural industries and national interests.