France will not support the opening of EU-US free trade talks if audiovisual content is not excluded from the negotiations, French trade minister Nicole Bricq warned Thursday.
The European Union and United States intend to begin within months talks on an ambitious transatlantic free trade deal that would create the world's largest free trade area, boosting economic growth and jobs.
"France is trying in effect to preserve the dynamism and influence of its artistic creation and is particularly attached to its cultural exception," said Bricq upon her return from a meeting of EU trade ministers in Dublin on the free trade project.
France has long argued in trade talks that audiovisual products, particularly films and TV shows, have a considerable social impact, in order to justify allowing states to impose restrictions to protect their national culture and language.
Bricq said France was not alone on this issue, and that while all EU states wanted to start free trade talks, there were differences on their positions.
In addition to audiovisual products, genetically-modified foods is expected to be one of the most contentious subjects in the talks.
With much of Europe in recession and the US recovery uncertain, leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have looked at the mooted Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as a way to spur growth and create jobs.
Research conducted for the European Commission estimated that the deal would quickly provide a 119 billion euro a year boost for the EU and 95 billion euros in additional gains for the United States.