Audiovisual Media and the Law of the WTO
Christoph B. Graber
University of Lucerne, Faculty of Law
May 9, 2012
FREE TRADE VERSUS CULTURAL DIVERSITY: WTO NEGOTIATIONS IN THE FIELD OF AUDIOVISUAL SERVICES, Christoph Beat Graber, Michael Girsberger, Mira Nenova, eds., pp. 15-64, Zurich: Schulthess, 2004
The regulation of audiovisual media under the WTO has always been controversial, highlighted by the difficulties in negotiations exhibited in the Uruguay Round, which formed the WTO as we know it today. This paper addresses the divide between those favouring trade liberalisation and those who argue that such media should not be regulated like other products or services, as they should come under a "cultural exception". It discusses recent negotiations in the Doha Round, which show the continuing tensions between the two perspectives. Additionally, the paper assesses WTO-Members' commitments under GATS, their National cultural policies, regarding audiovisual media, and provisions in GATT and GATS that allow for National flexibility, with respect to cultural policies. It concludes by analysing issues which have yet to be resolved. Specifically, whether an SCM-like agreement should be created for audiovisual services, the appropriateness of the classification system (as a consequence of changing technology), National rules regarding technical standards and licensing procedures and whether they could be barriers to trade, and the balance between maintaining competition and safeguarding cultural diversity.
An updated version is published as Audio-visual Policy: The Stumbling Block of Trade Liberalisation. THE WTO AND GLOBAL CONVERGENCE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND AUDIOVISUAL SERVICES, Damien Géradin and David Luff (eds), pp. 165-214, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Audiovisual Media, WTO, GATT, GATS, Cultural Exception, Cultural Diversity, Trade Liberalisation
JEL Classification: K21, K33, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 28, 2010 ; Last revised: November 5, 2013
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