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Mapping the Potential Interactions between UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Regime and World Trade Law

  • Tomer Broude (a1)

Abstract:

The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (CSICH) was not intended to have legal repercussions in international trade. Nevertheless, intangible cultural heritage (ICH) may interact with trade regulation under various scenarios. The CSICH “Representative List” inscribes numerous ICH elements with real and potential international commercial aspects and consequent trade law implications. These emergent trade law–ICH regime dynamics require not only some critical reflection (for example, is safeguarding of ICH ultimately dependent on commodification or, at least in some cases, significantly prone to commercial capture?) but also doctrinal legal analysis. This article undertakes a survey of many plausible ICH–trade interactions (generally excluding intellectual property issues), providing an analytical framework with reference to a series of case sketches of selected CSICH inscriptions such as kimjang, beer culture in Belgium, and yoga. These and other cases may indeed raise issues under world trade law, including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and subsidies regulation. Trade law may have underestimated the significance of ICH as a growing field. At the same time, ICH law may be developing without thinking through how it is impacted by commercial interests and international trade law.

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Footnotes

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The author is grateful for comments received on a presentation on this topic at a conference entitled UNESCO World Heritage between Education and Economy: A Legal Analysis, which was held at the Faculty of Law, University of Ravenna, 27–28 October 2016, and from Lorand Bartels, Chiara Bortolotto, Irene Calboli, Lucas Lixinski, Benedetta Ubertazzi and Valentina Vadi on an earlier draft. Shahar Brukner and especially Rebecca Baskin Zafrir provided excellent research assistance. Any errors are solely those of the author. The cut-off date for the article is July 1, 2017.

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References

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Mapping the Potential Interactions between UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Regime and World Trade Law

  • Tomer Broude (a1)

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