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Cultural Protectionism In The European Union

2244 words - 9 pages

Since the 1980s the European Union (EU) is pursuing a more liberal trade policy in its multilateral trade negotiations. This liberal approach is the result of the change in company preferences in favour of free trade. The change in business preferences also made politicians to support trade liberalisation. (Young, 2007) While the EU is a lead supporter when it comes to traditional trade policy, it is rather reluctant regarding the liberalisation in other trade areas. The European audiovisual industry is a good example to demonstrate the EU’s protectionist approach. Though there are countries, above all the United States, who are in contrary to the EU, great supporters of the full liberalisation of audiovisual industry. The US government seeks for liberalization of audiovisual services within the framework of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), while other countries, such as the member states of the European Union see the US and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a threat to their film industry and national culture.
In this paper within the European audiovisual sector I will focus on the European film industry. The main question of the paper: why does the EU pursue protectionist policy in case of its audiovisual sector, when in general it is expected to follow liberal trade policy? In order to explain the EU’s behaviour, Alasdair R. Young’s (2007) division of trade policy will be used as theoretical framework. Young differentiates three aspects of trade policy: traditional trade policy, commercial policy, social trade policy. Traditional trade policy includes tariffs and other quantitative measures, occurring at the border in order to discriminate foreign goods. With the rise of export orientation of European manufacturers, the will for liberalisation increased too, as firms within the EU were strong enough to face concurrence at the international market. This process makes one to expect the EU to pursue liberal trade policy, in order to boost trade intensity. Commercial policy concentrates on regulating competition in the domestic market. Liberalisation within commercial policy can involve changing national regulations with new, international rules, which can have more effect on local businesses, than removing tariffs. That is why more actors are involved when it comes to liberalisation within commercial policy. Social trade policy deals with measures that were not necessary meant to impede trade, but can act as trade barrier, such as preservation of cultural diversity or food health regulations. (Young, 2007)
Based on the above model, I will argue that even though there is a global tendency towards trade liberalisation within the service sector, and in spite of the considerable pressure for liberalisation from the US, the EU will be resistant regarding to open up its audiovisual/ film industry, as it would not only bring considerable changes in its commercial policy (take away subsidies from European film makers) but would...

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