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Video Games: Canada

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made in investigating whether Canadian subsidies to the video games industry breach World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules; and when the Government expect to lodge a formal complaint with the WTO. (246712)

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: BERR officials have discussed this issue with the European Commission on several occasions last year, as WTO disputes are a matter of Community competence.

No disciplines on subsidies exist under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services, and Canada has not made any specific market access commitments with regard to computer games services.

On the basis of information examined to date, the Government currently share the Commission’s analysis that there therefore appears to be little or no scope to bring a complaint to the WTO in relation to any subsidies Canada may be granting to video games producers established in Canada.

However, we have passed to the Commission additional details recently received from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) in response to earlier questions from the Commission.