November 26, 2003
Translation: FTAA Secretariat
COMMITTEE OF GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE PARTICIPATION OF
CONTRIBUTION IN RESPONSE TO THE OPEN AND ONGOING INVITATION
Paulo Slachevsky, Mane Nett, Bruno Bettati, Juan Carlos
Saez, Silvia Aguilera
CHILEAN COALITION FOR CULTURAL DIVERSITY (COALICIÓN CHILENA
PARA LA DIVERSIDAD CULTURAL)
Culture in the Free Trade Agreement
of the Americas
Chilean Coalition for Cultural
The Chilean Coalition for Cultural
Diversity (Coalición Chilena para la Diversidad Cultural) is an umbrella
group created in 2001 that now comprises twenty Chilean cultural
associations that advocate and promote cultural diversity. With regard to
the treatment of trade in cultural goods and services within the FTAA, the
Coalition considers that:
1. Culture is closely linked to the
possibility of constructing a more just and democratic society. Cultural
development is an end in and of itself, as
acknowledged by UNESCO, and to flourish, it requires a framework of
freedom, the coordination of public policy, and actions by private
parties and civil society to “transcend the economy without thereby
abandoning it” (See report entitled Our Creative Diversity,
2. Cultural development seeks to
ensure countries’ comprehensive development.
Although Chile is among the countries that have gone
the furthest in signing free trade agreements, Chilean President Ricardo
Lagos has said, “We cannot take the road of being mere passive
recipients of cultural objects and values produced elsewhere. For
globalization to be a dialogue among cultures rather than the hegemony
of one culture over others, it is essential that we now assume tasks to
stimulate and favor our own creations and heritage, and to encourage the
participation of all. The debate on cultural goods plays a fundamental
role in free trade agreements, and we must be able to adequately defend
these goods. This is because hegemony is exerted in many fields, but,
ultimately, ideas, beauty, the way of thinking, that which comes from
our roots [is] what perseveres and what allows for a dialogue among
civilizations. . . . Culture is the foundation, the component, the goal
of the type of development of each society, of each country. . . .
Culture is at the center of any civilization, of any society.”
3. Culture is a society’s expression
and projection. Alongside education,
culture is the very backbone of development. It allows countries to
develop their own identity and trademarks and enables societies to exist
over the long term. In that construct, which has social and economic
effects, domestic cultural industries play a fundamental role.
4. Culture must not be absorbed by
Cultural development, understood
broadly as “the set of distinctive traits that characterize a people’s
or a society’s way of living” and “ways of living together” (UNESCO),
cannot be principally governed by the rules of trade, which has its own
logic and is not always coherent and compatible with the logic of
5. Cultural creation and industries
generate a collective identity and are therefore strategic.
"There is no individual identity without reference to
a collective identity” correctly notes Chilean political scientist
Norbert Lechner. Without its own identity, a country cannot foster its
“own trademark” or have exportable products in which the denomination of
origin is one more factor. Moreover, the existence of a country image
makes a nation more attractive for tourism and investment. Hence, each
country’s cultural industries play a strategic role for the purpose of
strengthening development and growth.
6. In the globalization process,
concentration brings about standardization.
Transnational concentration in the ownership of
cultural industries has brought about widespread standardization of
cultural content, marked by cultural imperatives (Ivan Bernier). This
phenomenon is reinforced by the digital divide and by unequal
development in the technological sphere. This imposes a given type of
production over others, seriously threatening the diversity of cultural
expressions and, therefore, cultural diversity.
7. Local cultures require a
commitment from governments. Cultures are
going through complex times in globalization: as the processes of
cultural reproduction of dominant cultures over local production
increase, the characteristic stamps of local identities are falling
apart, mercantile logic prevails as the regulating core in the set of
cultural production and distribution. In order to achieve equilibrium,
countries need to participate more actively in encouraging the
sustainability of their own cultural expressions. In economic terms,
there is not, nor will there be, equal competition between global mass
products and local cultural products.
8. The market has been shown to not
be a guarantor of the equitable and diverse development of culture. We stakeholders in the world of culture do
not seek to limit cultural exchange among countries-quite the contrary.
We are, however, opposed to the rules that serve as the basis for free
trade agreements and that accompany the signing of these agreements-such
as “national treatment,” the “most favored nation” clause, and “market
access”-being applied to the cultural sphere, since they limit or
inhibit the possibility of developing public policy, leaving it solely
in the hands of the market and its “invisible forces.” As such public
policies have limited resources, they must discriminate in order to be
effective, not by closing borders but by supporting local creation and
production through diverse mechanisms. The possibility of discriminatory
action should be safeguarded with regard to education, culture, and
native peoples in the present and for the future.
9. Bilateral, regional, or
multilateral trade agreements may neutralize governments’ cultural
policies. This concentration can be
expressed in the following numbers: 85 percent of the movies shown
throughout the world are made in Hollywood; five or six groups control
the record industry; diverse publishing houses have been increasingly
concentrated by large consortia that span borders and languages. This
domination of the “entertainment industries” is occurring despite the
existence of government cultural regulations, which have begun to be
nullified through international trade agreements. The search for total
market control, which could be successful if public policies in the
sector are constrained, can be explained by the fact that as far back as
1996, cultural exports were the United States’ leading category of
exports, as noted in a UNESCO study.
10. Future cultural policies must not
be restricted by today’s trade agreements.
Since we currently do not have the elements to define
what public cultural or educational policies will be necessary in the
future in order to preserve local cultural expressions, we cannot accept
limitations on the leeway afforded to those who now decide or who in the
future will decide on cultural policies. The stipulations of these
agreements are nearly irreversible; hence, it would be an extremely
serious matter if rigid trade rules were imposed on sectors whose
essence is not related to trade per se.
11. Culture and democracy cannot be
validated by criteria based on “comparative advantages.”
Can we allow entire countries to be precluded from
the possibility of generating music, literature, film or theater because
they are not competitive? This criterion is valid with regard to
commercial issues, when we think of a globalized world; however, it
cannot be dogmatically applied to the cultural sector. An international
division of labor in cultural matters, with some countries producing and
others only receiving, is unacceptable.
12. Governments must preserve their
citizens’ potential to take part in cultural creation and production. Just as citizens need rights allowing them
to be participants in the society in which they live, without being
subsumed by the logic of government and state, the stakeholders in the
world of culture, such as the cultures of native peoples, have no real
market freedom if a structure of rights is not created to protect them
against consortia with which they cannot and do not hope to compete.
Successful coexistence requires that governments implement policies to
ensure balance and promotion for the sake of local identities and their
cultural creation/production. This architecture of cultural policies
must be freely discussed by society without being limited a priori.
13. A multicultural, reciprocal
exchange builds and enriches culture.
facts show that, in this aspect as well, governments must add proactive
policies to the market logic, policies that foster greater balance and a
meeting of cultures.
14. All citizens have the right to
have access to and experience cultural diversity.
Cultural diversity is a crucial factor in integration
among peoples. It acts as a catalyst for creativity and as a very
important source of innovation. Citizens’ exposure to diverse cultural
expressions is also an unavoidable condition for improving their quality
15. An instrument to ensure cultural
diversity has become urgently needed. At
the end of World War II, a series of international institutions were
created so as to guard against any repetition of the history of terror.
These institutions include the UN, UNESCO, UNCTAD, and the GATT
accord-which years later became the WTO-among others. We do not believe
that the principles of one of the organizations-the WTO-should now
dominate the efforts of all the others. Thus, it is essential, not only
for culture but also for human development per se, to promote
international regulations that will dovetail with the WTO’s trade logic.
The development of an International Convention on Cultural Diversity has
become a necessary step to strike a balance between the diverse
perspectives of human endeavors, and until that time, commitments in
this regard in international trade forums should be frozen.
16. Intellectual property must be at
the service of a nation’s creators and wealth.
Cultural endeavors generate creations that involve
intellectual rights. Such creations are the inalienable wealth of their
authors, as well as of the society to which they belong. These criteria
are the foundation for intellectual property regulations. Therefore, we
cannot accept these principles being reduced to commercial pragmatism,
which would thereby give these rights to encroachers or commercial
17. Changes in the laws that govern
intellectual property rights are incumbent on citizens, since they
necessarily compromise the country’s future.
While unequal trade between the nations of the North
and the South has increased exponentially in recent decades, the
denouncement of this reality has strangely been abandoned. Regulations
concerning intellectual property rights play a substantial role in the
increase or limitation of this structure of inequality among countries.
The debate on this issue concerns the future and cannot be addressed
from a merely technical or economic perspective.
18. Countries’ development in the era
of the knowledge society is a cultural gamble.
The digital divide cannot be breached merely by
teaching people how to use computers; rather, countries must be capable
of creating in the era of the information society. This is achieved by
strengthening the foundations of the “knowledge society.” This is a
cultural gamble, which requires freedom and creativity in public
policymaking. Cultural development cannot hinge solely on those in whom
economic capital is concentrated, but on the coordination of their
endeavors with the efforts of governments, civil society, creators, and
micro-, small- and medium-sized cultural enterprises, which requires a
framework of balance to survive, because the foundations of democracy,
development, pluralism, and civic-mindedness depend on the quality of
culture and education in our countries.
For these reasons, the cultural
associations that comprise the Chilean Coalition for Cultural Diversity
(Chilean Actors’ Union [SIDARTE]; Chilean Union of Music Workers
[Sitmuch]; Association of Chilean Publishing Workers [EDIN]; Copyright
Association [SCD]; Creaimagen; Association of Literary Rights [SADEL];
Chilean Association of Performers [SCI]; Chileactores; Union of
Cinematographic Professionals and Technicians [SINTECI]; Association of
Chilean Writers [SECH]; Association of Chilean Painters and Sculptors
[APECH]; Association of National Authors of Theater, Cinema, and
Audiovisuals [ATN]; Prodanza; and the Audiovisual Platform Federation of
Chile (which, in turn, comprises the Association of Movie and TV Producers
[APCT]; Association of Documentary Makers (ADOC); Association of Chilean
Short Films (ACORCH); Chilean Video Corporation; and the Chilean
Foundation of Moving Images)).
A.- That the FTAA negotiations
include a present and future exception or broad reservation for cultural
expressions (see annexed definitions), similar to that set forth in the
1994 Chile-Canada Agreement, covering cultural creation, production, and
distribution, such as for the education sector, the non-applicability of
“national treatment,” “most favored nation” and “market access” clauses,
and that cultural goods and services only be considered in the FTAA in
terms of the elimination of tariff barriers.
B.- That the FTAA negotiations, in considering culturally related
exceptions or reservations, include the new supports for this type of
production, including digital production, and even cultural services and
goods without physical support. In this regard, we request that the
cultural exception or reservation not be limited to the Chapter on
Services, but that it also be included in the Chapter on Electronic
C.- That the FTAA negotiations on intellectual property as well as on
cultural goods and services include the effective participation of the
sectors of civil society that have participated on the topic, with a view
to ensuring that these regulations favor creators and the country’s human
and democratic development. We want the negotiations to reflect
regulations on intellectual property rights, under the principles of human
rights and universal access to artistic works, and to prevent copyright
from becoming a right to copy, which does not have a cultural, but rather,
an industrial dimension. We must deal with this issue, which is the
foundation of the wealth of nations in the era of globalization, from a
cultural and social perspective, and not under the domination of the trade
D.- That in all bilateral, regional, or multicultural negotiations on
goods and services, the FTAA signatory countries refrain from assuming
liberalization commitments regarding any of the so-called cultural goods
and services, and thereby avoid giving up all or part of their cultural
sovereignty. States should maintain their regulatory autonomy in this
E.- That the signatory countries of the FTAA adopt the foreword proposed
by Canada in 2000 that states: “the 34 governments of the countries that
participate in the FTAA [are] determined to (…) recognize[e] that
countries must maintain the ability to preserve, develop and implement
their cultural policies for the purpose of strengthening cultural
diversity, given the essential role that cultural goods and services play
in the identity and diversity of society and the lives of individuals;”,
and become actively involved in the building of the Convention on Cultural
Diversity in UNESCO, which, based on the International Declaration of
Human Rights, could become an instrument of international law to preserve
cultural diversity, safeguard the regulatory power of states with regard
to cultural matters, foster a better balance and greater solidarity in
international trade in culture, and provide a point of reference with
respect to international fora and for the development of cultural
We firmly believe that these proposals are both necessary and urgent.
There are currently 9 coalitions working on this in all 5 continents, of
which 4 are in the Americas: Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Chile. The
extinction of the cultural expression of countries is an attack on the
existence of those countries as nations. This matter is as serious and
delicate as far as the future of humankind is concerned as the loss of
biodiversity. Trade and the culture of calculation should be complemented
with a culture of diversity, the imposition of one way of life upon
another should be avoided, and dialog among and meetings between peoples
should be intensified. States must therefore not renounce their ability to
participate in the cultural development of their countries.
Real integration “requires a history of changes that makes it possible to
understand the course taken” (Norbert Lechner), and this can only be
achieved through the meeting of the diversity of cultural expressions,
which are in urgent need of being safeguarded and fostered. We cannot
build a continental WE, if we accept the dominance or imposition of one
way of life over the others.
The conclusions of the recent and notable UNDP human development report
“We the Chileans: A Cultural Challenge”, could readily be projected onto
the reality of the region as a whole: “to build a future we need an image
of ourselves as a desired, feasible community, and that in itself is a
cultural challenge”, which can only be met through dialog and the
integration of the diversity of our cultures.
refers to the creation, production, distribution and exhibition of
cultural contents in any medium or form that exists now or in the future.
Cultural content refers to the production of
individual creators and cultural industries, which are generally protected
by intellectual property rights and which include, but are not limited to:
1) the creative production of individuals [and cultural industries]
revealed in different areas of the arts, such as theater, visual arts and
professions, architecture and design; 2) sounds, images and texts of
films, videos, sound recordings, books, magazines, newspapers, program
reruns and other kinds of media, whether in existence today or invented in
the future, whether created by individuals or cultural industries; 3)
collections and exhibitions belonging to museums, galleries and libraries
that include archives related to the cultural heritage of a society.
Cultural goods and services
are all those goods and services that transmit cultural contents and that
acquire their specific nature because they transmit values, meanings and
identities and are therefore not just consumer items.
refers to the organizations, companies and individuals that create,
produce, publish, distribute, exhibit, supply or sell cultural contents.
(These definitions were drawn up by the Working Group on Cultural
Diversity of the RIPC)