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Convention on Cultural Diversity



In the Fall of 2003, UNESCO will consider the introduction of an international agreement on cultural diversity. Proponents of this convention view the commitments made by countries in trade agreements as weakening the ability of countries to pursue domestic policies to preserve and promote cultural diversity. We review the existing draft wording for a convention and conclude that it fails to meet the necessary conditions for an enforceable rules-based international agreement. Countries are given rights to introduce policies that promote cultural diversity but have no clear obligations. What constitutes cultural diversity is self-defined by each member country. When there is a clash between countries in the exercise of rights, no effective dispute resolution mechanism has been set out. No procedure is outlined to determine how commitments made in other trade agreements, such as the WTO affecting cultural goods and services, will be managed. The requirements for developing an effective dispute resolution mechanism are absent. In our view, a sectoral agreement within the WTO is a more promising route to follow.

Suggested Citation

  • Keith Acheson & Christopher Maule, 2003. "Convention on Cultural Diversity," Carleton Economic Papers 03-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:03-05

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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. 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.
    3. Frederick Ploeg, 2004. "Comment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 257-261, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Lelio Iapadre, 2004. "Comment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 267-273, November.
    6. 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.

    More about this item


    International governance; cultural activities and industries; cultural diversity;

    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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