In our February 21 News Bulletin we reported on the Canadian government's desire to negotiate a cultural exemption for cultural industries in the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) along with remarks made by the Canadian minister of international trade, Mr. Peter Van Loan, to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The minister notably raised the issue of the European Union's request to Canada to open up its publishing industry.
This drew a reaction from member of the European Parliament, Mr. Kader Arif who, on March 4, submitted a question to the European Commission:
“Is the Commission aware that this stance calls into question undertakings given on cultural diversity?
[...] Will an approach which involves, on the one hand, defending and promoting cultural diversity and, on the other, taking an offensive line in these sectors at the expense of trading partners' cultural policies not lead to the loss of the European Union's credibility in the area of cultural diversity? Does the Commission intend to demonstrate a concrete commitment to cultural diversity by developing a coherent external policy that respects cultural diversity, above all with Canada, with which it shares the values of cultural diversity?”
On April 18, European trade commissioner, Mr. Karel De Gucht, responded to the member of European Parliament's question:
“In the context of the ongoing negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Commission's sole question to Canada relating to cultural industries thus far has been to clarify the scope of their broad cultural reservation, so that the Commission has a clear understanding as to which services would be covered. Once the Commission has this explanation from Canada, it will need to reflect on the consequences of their reservation for these sectors.
[...] Furthermore, the EU has not requested Canada to make a commitment on publishing services. Following its intention to design a general approach, the Commission drafted a concept paper on the negotiation of protocols of cultural cooperation in EU trade agreements with third countries. This paper will be presented and discussed with the European Parliament in the very near future. It has also been presented to the Council and will be discussed with civil society.”
To consult minister Van Loan's remarks in French and English, please consult the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage website.
To read the question posed by member of European Parliament Arif and the response from European commissioner De Gucht, visit the European Parliament website.