Cultural Products and the World Trade Organization

Cultural Products and the World Trade Organization

Debate about trade and culture has a long history, but the application of WTO rules to cultural products such as films, radio, and books remains one of the most divisive issues in the organization. After assessing the economic and social arguments for treating cultural products differently from things like steel or wheat, this 2007 book explains how the vastly different views of WTO members in earlier negotiations led to an outcome that is disappointing for all. It goes on to provide a comprehensive evaluation of possible solutions, including evolution of the law through WTO dispute settlement, an agreement outside the WTO, and reforms to improve the balance between trade liberalization and cultural policy objectives.


"Books about trade-and-culture often promote one of the aspects, either the trade or the culture side. However, Voon avoids preferring one side of the debate and instead provides a balanced and thoughtful view of the highly complex issues surrounding the challenge of protecting and promoting culture and cultural diversity, while at the same time pursuing the goal of further trade liberalisation among Member States. Ultimately, the greatest merit of the very comprehensive and insightful book is that it proposes a clear solution to the stalemate in the trade-and-culture debate."
--Franziska Sucker, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany

"...the first, and so far the only, book-length publication in English on the WTO and cultural products....This book is not biased in favor of trade or culture. Voon presents some solutions that should be acceptable to both sides, citing international trade treaties and other materials extensively, while explaining the reasons for different countries' arguments....A discussion of a highly specialized topic..."
--Yuxin Li, Law Library Journal

No references available.