The film industry is entering new territory in 2017 as President Trump begins to implement a more protectionist trade stance with countries like China and Mexico.
To start with, President Trump is going to implement tariffs to companies that ship American jobs abroad who then try to sell products back into the US market. When it comes to the film industry, many American production companies have opted to shoot outside the US, but could now face potential tariffs when films are distributed theatrically at home.
Then there’s the problem of retaliation. China, now one of the major foreign markets for film could be negatively affected by tariffs in a whole range of industries. This could lead to tariffs being imposed on Hollywood produced films, and also affect Chinese investment in co-productions that have created jobs for American workers.
China’s wealthiest man, Wang Jianlin, who has made major investments in Hollywood fired a warning shot to President Trump at Davos stating that China is the largest growth market for English films and introducing tariffs would be costly for both sides. China could implement new film quotas and retaliate with other measures against Hollywood studios that are more dependent on foreign box office revenues. This in turn could reduce box office receipts and cause job losses in the entertainment business at home.
However, there is room to strengthen China-US investments with fair trade agreements, which is what President Trump stated would be on the agenda, as long as American jobs are not shipped abroad and both sides can win.