[A2k] FT feature on WTO DG Lamy mentions TPP, TTIP and the French exception culturelle

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Jul 26 04:55:28 PDT 2013


http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5d9b5b78-efaf-11e2-8229-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2a9RtS8hK

<SNIP>


While the US, the EU and other key trade players such as Japan pursue new
transatlantic and trans-Pacific deals, those caught in WTO discussions are
struggling to finalise intertwined agreements on reducing customs barriers
and improving food security in the developing world.


Failure to present an agreement on at least one of those issues at
December’s biennial ministers’ meeting in Bali would raise major questions
about just what the WTO’s role is in trade talks.


Mr Lamy does little to hide his scepticism of those “mega” regional
initiatives such as the US-led, 11-country Trans Pacific Partnership talks,
and the recently launched EU-US negotiations – already billed as the
world’s biggest trade deal.


There are questions, he says, over whether they will be successfully
completed and whether, as their backers argue, they could one day represent
the building blocks of a global trade agreement.

<SNIP>

His own future, Mr Lamy insists, remains up in the air, though he does not
plan to leave the international stage. International issues are his
“intellectual plankton,” he declares.


He deflects questions about rumours that he may join François Hollande’s
government. But he concedes that he speaks regularly with the French
president, whom he calls a friend, and has much to say about the need to
accelerate economic reforms.


He also offers a compelling defence of the French *exception
culturelle* <http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5e661a12-cf60-11e2-a050-00144feab7de.html>,
France’s perennial claim to the right to subsidise and support its film and
other cultural industries to protect it from a much more powerful Hollywood
industry.


“There is a merit in diversity and there is a merit in economies of scale,”
he says. “But when the merits of economies of scale do not trump the merits
of diversity, let’s have the merits of diversity.”



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