IMPALA aims to promote the principle of cultural diversity.
What is at stake here is the creation of an environment which takes culture into account and promotes diversity. Sound recordings are not standard industrial products. Public authorities need to be able to pursue public policies in the music field.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services is an ongoing process of trade negotiations at global level (within the World Trade Organisation)
It aims at liberalising trade in services, through removing barriers to their circulation, and through phasing out some national preferential policies, with a view to generalising an equal treatment to all trading partners.
In the so-called Uruguay round (ended 1995), Europe negotiated a specific regime for audiovisual services: no trade liberalisation would be applied to this sector, and the ability to keep a certain number of national public policies aimed at supporting and developing the sector, would be secured.
Since the GATS agreement is an on-going process geared at achieving always more liberalisation, this state of play is not guaranteed, and may be put into question in the future.
The European Commission DG EAC website on GATS :
The European Commission DG Trade site on GATS :
The UN organisation is active in the promotion of cultural diversity. In November 2001 UNESCO adopted its Declaration on cultural diversity, followed by an Action Plan.
With a view to creating a specific regulatory regime for the cultural sector, and particularly the audiovisual sector, and avoiding leaving it to the GATS rules only, some countries initiated a process which lead to the creation of a “specific international legal instrument on cultural diversity”. UNESCO drafted the instrument and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions entered into force in 2005.
IMPALA is a member of the Alliance for Global Diversity at UNESCO and attends hearings held by the 2005 Convention.
UNESCO : http://www.unesco.org/culture/news/html_eng/index_en.shtml