Not even the high profile protest of popular actor Jackie Chan is likely to sway public opinion on the subject of parallel imports. If Legislative Councillors approve Government moves to legalise the importation of movies and similar goods, by-passing authorised dealers, the local consumer will benefit from the changes. The home-produced film industry is not enjoying the success that it did in its heyday, and loss of revenue through distribution rights comes at a difficult time, but the problems of film-makers are a bit of a red herring. Opening the way for freer access to the market is entirely in line with Hong Kong's fundamental free-market philosophy. It would be inconsistent to claim that because one local industry is passing through straitened times, legislators should oppose a scheme which will remove its monopoly in a subsidiary venture. Competition is the wellspring of the territory's success. Audiences for locally produced movies have been dwindling for years, largely because studios go on churning out the same old themes. Shielding behind protectionism hardly is the answer. Conversely, there is a growing demand for Hong Kong films in foreign market where they are relative newcomers to the scene, so the opportunities are there, and the answer would seem to be stay at home and concentrate on the vast overseas market waiting to be exploited. In a free market, competition squeezes profit margins of players but provides efficient and less costly services to the consumer. If Jackie Chan has to leave because times are tough, the decision is his. His fans may regret it, but they will always support a system which gives them a fairer deal.