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Audiovisual Services Subsidies within the Framework of the GATS: the Current Situation and Impact of Negotiations

To varying degrees, most countries subsidize their audiovisual services. In developed countries particularly, audiovisual services subsidies are prominent at nearly every stage of the production and distribution process. This is the case for the film industry (and largely for television, as well), where subsidy programs exist for project development, scripting, production, marketing, distribution, dubbing and subtitling, festivals, international film events, co-production, etc. Among all service sectors, the audiovisual service sector is the most frequently cited as receiving subsidies, according to data collected during periodic reviews of WTO Member trade policies. This last observation has led us to question the legal status of subsidies in the GATS and the repercussions of the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) negotiations now underway regarding subsidies to the audiovisual sector.

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Column by Mr. Ivan Bernier, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at Université Laval in Québec City for Spotlight on Diversity, hosted by the Governmnet of Québec Secretariat for Cultural Diversity

Filed Under: Academic | English | Magazine Article | WTO

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