WASHINGTON — After a last-minute move by South Korea to begin negotiations over the distribution of American-made films there, leading film companies Friday put on hold their unfair trade complaint with the federal government.
Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America as well as the Motion Picture Export Assn., said the film companies have agreed to withdraw their complaint against South Korea until Wednesday in order to begin negotiations at the request of South Korean officials.
"This would be the third Administration move against the Koreans this fall," Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) said of the potential action by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. "Maybe even for the Koreans the third time is the charm. But if they don't show up next week with a plan to end their barriers this year, the ax will fall."
The Korean government contacted Valenti by telephone to ask for negotiations just as the Office of U.S. Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter prepared to announce an official investigation of film companies' complaints about "unreasonable" South Korean restrictions on the distribution of U.S. films in that country.
Valenti said that Yeutter has given the film companies "total assurance that if the negotiation meeting proves unsatisfactory, the trade complaint will be reactivated and officially accepted" within five working days.