Documents menu

Dialog on GATT and North American Free Trade


Date: Wed, 25 Jan 1995 11:46:51 +0800 (WST)
Reply-To: Peter Limb (

I may have diverged a little from the topic of this list, but to swing back to the right direction, "Cultural Products", such as tv, films, books etc are one of the areas given the most cooncessions in the recent GATT negotiations. I for one can see the desire to ensure that local product in these areas is protected, at least minimally to ensure we don't all end up in a bland, homogenous society. Is this a naive view? Does anyone have any counter arguments? I'll stay tuned and find out.

Grant Allen
Associate Lecturer in Computing / "Consultant" (what a great word!)
University of Canberra

There was certainly a lot of pressure for concessions re cultural products during the GATT negotiations, especially by the French - with good reason, given their singular ability to challenge the cultural hegemony of Hollywood.

But what was the final agreement? I thought that in the end the French had to cave in? I can see it all now- a Macdonald's inside and outside the Louvre.

I recently heard an interesting talk by a leading Calcutta trade unionist about the disastrous effects of GATT on Bengal industry. He claimed that local firms were being squeezed out by western companies who were supplying engineering products to partners, and the Bengal/Indian governments were powerless, under GATT, to introduce any kind of "protection" for local companies. The result was large-scale unemployment in Calcutta. The fact that some commodities may be more available would be little consolation for these people. There seems to be a vigorous criticism of GATT in most Third World countries.

Is anyone following the debates?

-- Peter Limb, Reid Library, University of Western Australia
fax: (09) 3801012 ; phone (09) 3802347

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 23:53:29 -0500 (EST)
From: "Albert P. Buys" (
To: Peter Limb (

The final version of GATT consisted of some 220000 pages and not every US politician who voted had read every page.

You can find GATT here: gopher

select 9 govt info
select 4 internat govt info
select 8 GATT

IMHO it is so complicated and it does not go into effect right away thus the effect can not be evaluated immediately. I am afraid that the smaller companies will not survive when thrown on the same playing field with the Internationals.

More important, I understand that any country can withdraw from GATT when its "national security" is at stake.



Albert P. Buys