The Treatment of Cultural Services in Asian Countries' Preferential Trade Agreements
The Treatment of Cultural Services in Asian Countries’ Preferential Trade Agreements
Gilbert Gagné and Guy-Philippe Wells
ABSTRACT: With the stalemate in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, states, and particularly major powers, have increasingly turned to preferential trade agreements (PTAs) to further liberalise trade and secure their policy preferences. Asian countries, notably China, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, are no exceptions to this global trend. At the same time, these countries are generally not favourable to cultural exception or to any specific treatment for cultural goods and services. The article 1) summarises the provisions relating to the cultural sector in these Asian countries’ PTAs; 2) discusses the scope of such provisions, including with respect to the digital dimension; and 3) seeks to explain the resistance of these countries to liberalise either the cultural sector or the broadcasting sub-sector. States’ commitments and/or reservations in cultural services are fairly consistent across their PTAs, regardless of those of their PTA partners. While China and India have made few commitments in the cultural sector, Korea has maintained significant restrictions for the sake of its cultural policies. Japan and Singapore, on the other hand, have largely liberalised their cultural, notably audiovisual, sectors, but have refrained from undertaking obligations in regard to broadcasting. In terms of culture, broadcasting is the sector most sensitive toward which Asian states wish to preserve economic and political control, notwithstanding their trade liberalisation stances in the case of other cultural sectors.

Please Sign in if already registered Subscriber.


Please Register and make the necessary subscription payment to activate your account.

Adobe Reader