"As the first exporter of cultural goods and services, the United States has long held that such products should be treated like any other merchandise and be liberalized. On the other hand, for countries such as France and Canada who are concerned about the impact of economic globalization and the digital revolution on their cultural identity, cultural products should be exempted from economic liberalization or subject to a cultural exception.
These conflicting views and interests between states as to the treatment of cultural products in international economic law lie at the hearth of the trade and culture debate. These differences have led to serious tensions over the liberalization of cultural services within the World Trade Organization, as well as to a Convention within UNESCO to recognize the economic and cultural character of cultural products and the states’ right to pursue cultural policies. With most states still not keen on liberalizing the cultural sector and the stalemate in the Doha Round, the United States has turned to preferential trade agreements to secure its policy preferences on the treatment of cultural products. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the US government has concluded eleven trade agreements grouping sixteen countries and has been involved in three sets of plurilateral negotiations, with major implications for the evolution of the trade and culture debate."