Art in the WTO Agreement: The Role of Creativity in International Trade
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global organization that aims to promote and regulate international trade. One area of trade that has gained increasing attention in recent years is the trade in cultural products and services, such as art and music. But how does the WTO agreement address this trade?
Firstly, it is important to understand that the WTO agreement has two main components: the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Both agreements aim to promote fair and open trade amongst member countries. However, each agreement has specific provisions related to trade in cultural products and services.
Under the GATT, there is a provision known as the “cultural exception,” which allows member countries to protect their cultural industries from being subject to international trade rules. This means that countries are free to support and promote their cultural products and services without fear of violating WTO rules. The cultural exception has been a contentious issue in past trade negotiations, but it remains an important aspect of the GATT.
Under the GATS, cultural products and services are recognized as a distinct category of services. This acknowledgement means that member countries can craft policies that promote the development and protection of their cultural industries. For example, a country may choose to subsidize its film industry or provide tax incentives to encourage the growth of its music industry.
Additionally, the GATS allows for the negotiation of special treatment for cultural products and services. This means that countries that wish to protect their cultural industries can negotiate specific exemptions from WTO rules. For example, a country may negotiate a quota system that limits the amount of foreign-produced content that can be distributed in its market.
Overall, the WTO agreement recognizes the importance of cultural products and services in international trade. By allowing member countries to protect and promote their cultural industries, the agreement ensures that creativity and diversity continue to thrive in the global marketplace. As trade in cultural products and services continues to grow, it will be important for the WTO to continue to adapt its rules to reflect the unique needs of the cultural industries.