The diversity of European cultures and ways of life, …roughly translated, means the need to protect the sector from U.S. competition.
(Stern 1994a: 18)
It's a war to protect art, say the French. What art, ask the Americans.
(Cohen 1994: H1)
We're going to ruin your culture just like we ruined our own.
(Jay Leno, 1994 promotional spot for the pan-European NBC Super Channel)
By the time you read this chapter, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) will be dead. In January 1995, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) came into being, replacing the agreements and buying the bureaucrats that had been foremost amongst the international institutional voices of laissez-faire economics since Bretton Woods. The last gasp of the GATT came with the 20,000 page protocols, weighing 850 kilogrammes, that were agreed in Geneva in December 1993, signed in Marrakesh in April 1994, and ratified domestically by its 125 members and fellow-travellers over the next eight months. But its effects will be felt-through the work of the new organization-beyond its life. Although the audiovisual market was extremely prominent in these deliberations, in keeping with the shift in emphasis from trade in goods to trade in services (TIS), the US attempt to proscribe cultural protectionism was opposed by virtually every other nation, and cinema and television were finally excluded from the agreement. This chapter traces the history to that debate and the forms of life that generated it, via an examination of the new international division of cultural labour (NICL). But first, some background to the GATT and American audiovisual export, before we return to the cultural politics of the Uruguay Round.
Who can be blind today to the threat of a world gradually invaded by an identical culture, Anglo-Saxon culture, under the cover of economic liberalism?
(François Mitterrand quoted in Brooks 1994:35)
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Publication information: Book title: Film Policy: International, National, and Regional Perspectives. Contributors: Albert Moran - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 72.
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