Rostam J. Neuwirth, Professor of European Law at the Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India, have just published a comprehensive book on the cultural industries from a legal perspective entitled The Cultural Industries in International Trade Law – Insights from the NAFTA, the WTO and the EU. The book evaluates the present regulatory situation of various cultural goods and services, known as the cultural industries, under international trade law. Particularly, it looks at the experiences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union (EU) in order to critically evaluate the efficiency and legitimacy of the current multilateral trading regime established under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The book inquires more closely into the actual legal value of the cultural industries exemption in NAFTA as a corrective for the lack of cultural sensitivity within the area of economic integration regimes. It also analyzes the legal significance and political mandate of Article IV GATT on cinematograph films, which serves as a point of departure for the evaluation of the situation of the cultural industries under the WTO legal regime, and notably the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
The book concludes with some deliberations on the specificity inherent in the cultural goods and services comprised of the cultural industries. From this specificity, it is argued, derives the need for their special treatment and, most of all, for a more complementary approach to the respective areas of culture and trade in their mutual relation, which eventually can only be achieved through the improvement of the cooperation between the competent international organizations with a view of enhancing the unity and coherence of the international legal order.