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13 The Place of Cultural Rights in the WTO System

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyses scholarly writings and international legislative activity relating to the trade liberalization/cultural diversity debate. It highlights the contribution made by the recently adopted UNESCO Cultural Diversity Declaration and Convention in this respect. It analyses a contextual formulation of the nature and specificity of cultural activists' concerns regarding GATT/GATS, and the typical response to these concerns by trade liberalization proponents. It then assesses the way in which arguments presented in terms of cultural rights protection are employed by each side of the debate to reinforce their claims, and proposes an alternative, more nuanced cultural rights approach to WTO law. On this basis, the UNESCO Cultural Diversity Declaration and Convention are subjected to a close reading. The chapter explores from a cultural rights viewpoint two legal avenues in GATT/ GATS law that are often highlighted in trade/cultural diversity discussions for their potential, or lack thereof, for accommodating cultural diversity concerns.

Keywords: cultural diversity; cultural rights protection; GATS; GATT; trade liberalization; UNESCO Cultural Diversity Declaration and Convention; WTO law



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