MJIEL Vol 5 Issue 3 2008 - Article 1

Abstract: The area of trade and culture reveals extreme fragmentation. Instead of mitigating this state, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which entered into force in March 2007, makes the disconnect between regulatory issues of trade and culture even more profound. The present article critiques this politically driven structural disconnection and exposes the Convention’s failing potential to provide feasible solutions accommodating cultural policy objectives in a least trade- and competition-distortive manner. In a second analytical strand, the article explores the changed conditions for creativity, as well as for production, distribution and consumption of cultural content, in the now pervasive digital networked environment. Under the conditions of the latter, any type of trade restriction upon the flow of cultural goods and services may be deemed dubious and could indeed be detrimental to the goal of cultural diversity. Paradoxical as it may sound, it could be that the WTO offers the better solutions. In this context, the article reveals a number of ‘neutral’ paths towards making the WTO framework more culture-conducive.

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