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Cablegate: Fta and Culture: Peruvian Response

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O.12958: N/A
SUBJECT: FTA and culture: Peruvian response

1. Summary: In July 2004, a group of renowned Peruvian
artists and intellectuals, led by congresswoman Elvira de la
Puente, created the Peruvian Coalition for Cultural
Diversity to defend, promote, and protect Peruvian cultural
industries and patrimony. The Coalition sent President
Toledo a letter demanding the insertion of a "cultural
exemption" in the U.S.-Andean Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
text, which would prevent Peruvian cultural products from
being considered conventional commercial goods or services.
The coalition wants to preserve Peru's cultural diversity in
the face of the U.S.-Andean FTA. If these concerns are not
taken into consideration, the Coalition can be expected to
raise its concerns publicly, possibly beginning a campaign
against the FTA. End Summary.

2. Background: The Peruvian Coalition follows the
guidelines of the International Network for Cultural
Diversity (INCD), a worldwide network of artists and
cultural groups dedicated to countering the perceived
adverse effects of economic globalization on culture. One
hundred eighty-seven delegates from 36 countries throughout
Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia are members of INCD.
As pressure grows to include more cultural sectors in free
trade agreements, cultural groups around the world are
uniting to create a new international instrument to preserve
cultural diversity. To support this, the INCD has drafted a
"Convention on the Protection of Diversity of Cultural
Contents and Artistic Expressions" to provide a legal
foundation for government measures that support cultural
diversity and encourage governments to use that authority
domestically. UNESCO has sent this document to the World
Trade Organization (WTO) for its information. The final
document will be discussed during the next UNESCO Convention
in Paris in October 2005.

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3. According to the Coalition, cultural products are
composed of goods and services with intellectual, artistic
and educational contents, and artistic expressions that
reflect the identities, experiences and values of a
community. Films, music, literature, theater, and other
forms of arts are considered "cultural products." The
Coalition cites the disproportionate relationship in size,
development, and competitiveness between Peruvian and U.S.
cultural industries and demands special benefits to
guarantee their existence in the local market.

4. The Peruvian Coalition supports the following INCD
--Cultural policies must not be subject to international
trade agreements;
--Cultural goods and services are not mere economic
--Cultural diversity must be protected from globalization
--All nations must preserve the sovereign right to promote
and enhance cultural diversity;
--All nations must protect indigenous and national cultural
institutions and at the same time, increase international
trade of cultural products and other forms of artistic
expression; and
--Civil society should be fully engaged in FTA negotiation

5. Although the Peruvian cultural and intellectual community
is generally in favor of the U.S.-Andean FTA, they agree
that cultural industries should be protected. They also
believe that cultural products and services should be
separated from free and open market systems. Similar groups
have been created in other Latin-American countries with
Colombia, known for their protection of cultural products,
taking the strongest stance on the issue. On November 9,
2004, Convenio Andres Bello, a Colombian institution, the
Peruvian National Institute of Culture, the Institute for
Peruvian Studies, and the Peruvian Ministry of Education
organized a conference in Lima entitled "FTA: Culture,
Diversity, and Facts." Peruvian Vice Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Alvaro Diaz, and Herman Rey, advisor to the
government of Colombia participated in the conference. Diaz
indicated that the Peruvian Coalition's concerns had been
taken into account and that Peru was negotiating for the
insertion of a "cultural exemption" clause in the FTA text.
Daily El Comercio November 7, 2004, edition (center-right
influential leading daily, circulation 65,200) published an
article supporting the proposal to protect cultural
industries from the FTA.

6. Recently, GOP MFA official, Benjamin Chavez, Head
Peruvian negotiator for the Andean FTA's Cross-Border
Services table, revealed to PAS that he is working with
members of the Peruvian Coalition on the "cultural
exemption" text for the FTA. This would allow for the
establishment of preferential economic policies for cultural
industries, including government support for the audiovisual
industry (film, television, and music). Mr. Chavez stated
that the text being discussed has broader implications than
the one approved in the FTA agreement with Chile, which
allows the government to implement special economic
advantages for Chilean cultural industries that do not fall
under the FTA rules and guidelines.

7. The issue of Andean FTA and culture has received
increased press coverage recently. Daily El Comercio ran an
article on the FTA and potential implications for the
Peruvian film industry on February 28. On March 15, 2005,
the same newspaper published a similar article, calling the
cultural industries of the Andean countries "David" against
the U.S., "Goliath".

8. Comment: While the Peruvian Cultural Coalition has not
made any public statements in recent months, it appears
ready to become vocal and publish commentaries if the FTA
does not include the proposed "cultural exemption" text.
Embassy Lima will closely monitor the Coalition and its FTA-
related initiatives. End comment.


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