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Convention on Cultural Diversity


  • Keith Acheson
  • Christopher Maule


UNESCO has given its Director General a mandate to draft a convention on protecting the diversity of cultural contents and artistic expressions by the fall of 2005. Proponents of the convention view commitments made by countries in trade agreements as weakening their ability to preserve and promote cultural diversity. We review the existing draft wording for a convention, developed before the official involvement of UNESCO, by the INCP, an association representing cultural ministries in favour of insulating their cultural policies from liberalization, and conclude that it fails to meet the necessary conditions for an enforceable rules-based international agreement. In the INCP text, countries are given rights to introduce policies that promote a self-defined cultural diversity. The only obligation is to balance their interests with those of others. No standard of adjudication for balance is offered nor any effective dispute resolution mechanism developed. The ultimate purpose of the initiative may be to form a negotiating bloc within the WTO, but the disparate interests of its members and the lack of tangible benefits from the Convention reduce the credibility of bargaining solidarity. In contrast, the WTO provides a flexible and effective forum for negotiating maintenance of current policy options at a cost of making concessions in other sectors. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Acheson & Christopher Maule, 2004. "Convention on Cultural Diversity," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 243-256, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:28:y:2004:i:4:p:243-256
    DOI: 10.1007/s10824-004-3587-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francois, Patrick & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2002. "On the protection of cultural goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 359-369, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephanie Lu Wang & Qian Gu & Mary Ann Glinow & Paul Hirsch, 2020. "Cultural industries in international business research: Progress and prospect," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 51(4), pages 665-692, June.
    2. Lelio Iapadre, 2004. "Comment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 267-273, November.
    3. Aubert, Cècile & Bardhan, Pranab & Dayton-Johnson, Jeff, 2003. "Artfilms, Handicrafts and Other Cultural Goods: The Case for Subsidy," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt62n4f3bh, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Charles H. Davis, 2011. "The Toronto Media Cluster: Between Culture and Commerce," Chapters, in: Charlie Karlsson & Robert G. Picard (ed.),Media Clusters, chapter 10, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Frederick Ploeg, 2004. "Comment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 257-261, November.
    6. Françoise Benhamou & Stéphanie Peltier, 2007. "How should cultural diversity be measured? An application using the French publishing industry," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 31(2), pages 85-107, June.

    More about this item


    cultural activities; cultural diversity; cultural industries; INCP; trade;

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law


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