The Cultural Industries and the Legacy of Article IV GATT: Rethinking the Relation of Culture and Trade in Light of the New WTO Round
Rostam J. Neuwirth
University of Macau - Faculty of Law, E32
November 22, 2002
At the time of its drafting Article IV GATT relating to cinematograph films was designed to recognise the importance of the media for the Contracting Parties' sovereignty, cultural cohesion and identity, as well as their economic force in the stimulation of domestic production. Since its adoption in 1947, however, important technological innovations have taken place, leaving their imprint on the quality as well as the quantity of international trade and commerce. The numerous changes, however, have only been partially recognised in amendments to the GATT, as introduced by the past eight trade liberalisation rounds. Most of all, the issue of the audiovisual media, despite the strong controversy it caused during the Uruguay Round, was left to subsequent negotiations, to be undertaken in a new round of trade liberalisation.
In light of the new negotiation round launched in Doha in November 2001, this note argues that the original reasoning behind Article IV GATT is still valid and that the special, namely dual, quality of the media must be recognised in a future framework of international trade under the aegis of the World Trade Organization. This recognition, however, may take several forms, some of which Canada and the European Union have exemplified in their experiences on a regional level. Based on these experiences, the author examines the main features of possible case scenarios and offers remarks with respect to their eventual positive and negative effects.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: WTO, GATT, international trade, culture, cultural diversity, films, cultural industries
JEL Classification: K33
Date posted: March 3, 2009 ; Last revised: July 18, 2009
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