The U.K. government said Feb. 28 that it has opened negotiations with five countries, including China and South Africa, to draw up film co-production treaties that will enable producers to apply for r

LONDON (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The U.K. government said Feb. 28 that it has opened negotiations with five countries, including China and South Africa, to draw up film co-production treaties that will enable producers to apply for reciprocal tax breaks.

If a co-production treaty is sealed between the United Kingdom and another country, movie producers from that country who have obtained a British film certificate can then apply for tax relief on 100% of the certified spending on the film.

Culture minister Tessa Jowell said her government is also negotiating with India, Jamaica and Morocco.

The United Kingdom has so-called bilateral agreements with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Norway. It is also signed to the European Convention on co-production.

But the government said it will switch to using the European Convention on co-productions with Italy and Germany, rather than using the existing bilateral agreements, and that it will not renew the current agreement with Norway, which expires in May 2007.

Jowell said the plan is to develop treaties with each of these five countries that will allow filmmakers to work together "to produce films that will benefit all the countries involved and will guarantee homegrown talent is promoted on a worldwide stage."

She cited the annual volume of domestic Indian films produced and the size of the Chinese population as being important drivers for opening co-production treaty talks.

Negotiations are expected to take up to 18 months.

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