Limits to Liberalization

Limits to Liberalization: Local Culture in a Global Marketplace

Patricia M. Goff
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Limits to Liberalization
    Book Description:

    The so-called culture industries-film, television and radio broadcasting, periodical and book publishing, video and sound recording-are noteworthy exceptions to the rhetorical commitment of Western countries to free trade as a major goal. These exceptions threatened to derail such high-profile negotiations as NAFTA and its predecessor, the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, as well as the Uruguay Round of the GATT.

    Conventional wisdom did not foresee trouble from this source, because these established industries are not commercial national champions, nor are they particularly large providers of jobs. As Patricia M. Goff shows, the standard trade literature considers the monetary value but doesn't recognize the symbolic importance of cultural production. In Limits to Liberalization, she traces the interplay between the commercial and the cultural. Governments that want to expand free trade may simultaneously resist liberalization in the culture industries (and elsewhere, including agriculture and health care).

    Goff traces the rationale for "cultural protectionism" in the trade policies of Canada, France, and the European Union. The result is a larger understanding of the forces that shape international trade agreements and a book that speaks to current theoretical concerns about national identity as it plays out in politics and international relations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-5981-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    It is by now commonplace to note the sweeping changes that have accompanied globalization. Financial transactions have increased in volume and speed. Transportation and communication links have made the movement of goods and persons easier and less costly, and the movement of information instantaneous. As a result of consistent efforts to lower barriers to trade, exports account for larger portions of the gross domestic product (GDP) of trading nations. For the most part, we view these changes in a positive light. They are tagged as “advances” and equated with “progress.” States opt out of the global economy at their peril,...

  5. Chapter 1 Protectionism Reconsidered
    (pp. 17-35)

    Consecutive U.S. governments have worked to convince their counterparts in Canada, France, and more recently, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, that government support measures to local culture industries leave U.S. cultural producers at an unfair disadvantage. Until the 1980s, U.S. officials protested such cultural policy measures on an ad hoc basis. However, developments in the latter part of the twentieth century shifted these debates into the realm of multilateral trade negotiations.

    What began as an “irritant” in Canada–U.S. bilateral relations moved onto the international trade agenda when the Canadian government stalled Canada–U.S. Free Trade (CUSFTA)...

  6. Chapter 2 Canada and NAFTA
    (pp. 36-82)

    Successive Canadian governments since the early 1920s have used policy governing culture industries to contribute to the related goals of collective identity formation, nation-building, and more recently, the promotion of cultural diversity. As a result, a significant body of support measures favoring Canadian producers in film, television, and radio broadcasting; periodical and book publishing; and video and sound recording has developed. It is this body of policy that the Canadian government sought to keep intact by calling for the exclusion of culture industries from the Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) and subsequently from NAFTA. These support measures have generally...

  7. Chapter 3 GATT, Europe, and Audiovisual Industries
    (pp. 83-124)

    During the closing days of the Uruguay Round of GATT talks, after seven years of negotiation, the European Union, led by France, threatened to scuttle the agreement unless audiovisual industries were left out. The U.S. Congress imposed a deadline of December 15, 1993, for the end of GATT negotiations. As the deadline neared, some major sticking points remained, among them disagreement between the United States and the European Union over agricultural and audiovisual policy. The parties were able to reach agreement on agricultural policy, but U.S. and European negotiators were unable to reconcile their respective interests with regard to television...

  8. Chapter 4 Institutionalizing Cultural Protectionism
    (pp. 125-145)

    The evolution of the trading regime is creating new challenges for domestic cultural policymakers. As the two previous chapters demonstrate, the appearance of culture industries on the roster of sectors to be liberalized by multilateral trade agreements means that domestic cultural policy now intersects with international trade policy in new and often problematic ways. Until recently, the favored response to this was to exempt the cultural sector—either partially or entirely—from trade agreement provisions. However, since the WTO decision on Canadian periodicals policy, many consider such exemptions to be unreliable in allowing room for the promotion of sociocultural goals....

  9. Chapter 5 Beyond Culture Industries: Cultures of Agriculture and Health Care
    (pp. 146-168)

    So far this book has focused primarily on the perceived need to reconcile sociocultural and economic objectives where trade in cultural products is concerned. This challenge, which I argue is part of an evolving, contemporary embedded liberalism compromise, presents itself very clearly in the cultural sector. However, it does not only appear there. In fact, as the trade regime expands to include services, intellectual property, investment rules, and competition policy, this tension will be all the more central in a variety of sectors. Among them are agriculture and public services, which have much in common with the cultural sector. These...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 169-176)

    Globalization has been hailed as the source of great benefit. However, even among those who are propelling it, there is ambivalence about its implications for local cultures. This book has explored one area where this tension is prominent— trade in culture industry products.

    Signatories concluded the two largest multilateral trading agreements on record in the early 1990s. Both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) devote hundreds of pages to regulations governing thousands of commodities worth billions of dollars in trade revenue. In both cases, disagreement over the regulation of culture...

  11. References
    (pp. 177-188)
  12. Index
    (pp. 189-198)