December 14, 1993 – In retrospect, a reasonably quiet news day. Beginning with trade talks in Geneva at the GATT Summit. How a tentative deal was reached, minus any agreement on Film. When the talks finally ended by Wednesday’s deadline, the United States and European Union had agreed to disagree on several commodities. Besides movies, television, and music, civil aircraft and some shipping and financial services – such as banking and stock brokerage – were excluded. Those involved in the GATT talks said it was primarily French officials who refused to budge on quotas – out of a perceived need to protect their own fragile entertainment industry. “I don’t know how long it will take, but market forces will eventually prevail,” says Jonas Rosenfield, president of American Film Marketing Association in Los Angeles, which represents the independent sector of the American film industry. “The ability of individual blocs of countries to control the dissemination of entertainment products is going to be significantly weakened within years.”
Needless to say, the GATT agreement was on-track, however wobbly it actually was. It was, after all, the largest trade deal in history in which 116 countries agreed to lower their barriers on a wide range of new products and accept the risks of a rough-and-tumble world marketplace. The final agreement was made possible only after the U.S. and Europe agreed to defer talk over movies, since U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was unable to reach a deal on the entertainment issue. The elephant in the room sat quietly . . .for now.
Meanwhile, vice-President Gore was in Moscow at a time when the ultra-nationalist wing in Russia was making significant gains in the recent elections. Wisely, he side-stepped the issue when meeting with the press during his visit. The surprising gains made by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s mis-named Liberal Democratic Party racked up an unbeatable 25% margin, posing a formidable challenge to Yeltsin’s presiding government. Zhirinovsky was busy toning down the rhetoric and even offering an olive brach to Yeltsin. More to be revealed.
And Houston Oiler Lineman Jeff Alm was dead from an apparent suicide, following an accident where a friend was thrown out of Alm’s out-of-control car and fatally injured. Police said Alm, apparently distraught over his friend’s death, killed himself with a shotgun.
And that’s just a small slice of news that went on, this December 14, 1993 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.