BERNIER, Ivan, Discours à l’occasion des Deuxièmes rencontres internationales des organisations professionnelles de la culture, Paris 2-4 février 2003, 13 p.
The author starts by pointing out that a fundamental ambiguity surrounds the plan for a new international agreement on cultural diversity in terms of its objective, content, and implementation in the WTO. Is the ultimate objective of this agreement to exclude culture from the WTO, or to obtain special treatment for the cultural sector? Or, he asks, is it rather an essentially cultural agreement whose goal is not to change the rights of the WTO but to provide a frame of reference, code of conduct, and forum for all countries that consider the preservation of distinct cultural expression and cultural diversity in general an essential aspect of globalization? He also examines both approaches in greater detail in order to clarify this ambiguity and facilitate the establishment of this agreement. According to Mr. Bernier, the international instrument on cultural diversity must be seen not only as a frame of reference and code of conduct that will establish a new legal order in the cultural domain for all member states to guide their actions on the national level and provide a common approach to international negotiations, but also as a cooperation tool between all member states. “Far from being a static and protectionist instrument, it will instead be decisive in the development of cultures, cultural exchanges, and cultural diversity.” In conclusion, he stresses that an international agreement on cultural diversity outside of the WTO is an “absolutely essential” pillar of dynamic and determined action in favor of cultural diversity.