GÓMEZ, R & MUÑOZ, A (2014) Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy in Mexico and Canada after 20 years of NAFTA. Norteamérica 9 (2), pp 173-204

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The main objective of this article is to present an analysis of 20 years of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), both in the specific area of cultural policies and in the cultural industries sectors. We draw on industrial indicators,

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  173 NORTEAMÉRICA  , Year 9, Issue 2, July-December 2014 Received: 03/15/2014 Accepted: 09/22/2014  A BSTRACT The main objective of this article is to present an analysis of 20 years of the North America Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) in the area of cultural policies, specically, those related to cultural industries. Our main focus is to compare the positions that the Canadian and Mexican govern-ments have taken vis-à-vis  the world’s number-one audiovisual power, the United States. Within this scenario, we have spotlighted the Mexican case. Key words:  cultural policy, cultural industries, NAFTA  ,  audiovisual, Canada, Mexico. R ESUMEN El objetivo principal de este artículo es presentar un análisis de los veinte años del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte ( TLCAN ) en el área de políticas culturales, especícamente las relacionadas con las industrias culturales. Nuestro enfoque se centra en comparar las postu-ras que los gobiernos canadiense y mexicano han tenido frente a Estados Unidos, el poder audio-visual número uno del mundo. Dentro de este escenario hemos destacado el caso de México. Palabras clave:  política cultural, industrias culturales, TLCAN  ,  audiovisual, Canadá, México. Cultural Industries and Policy In Mexico and Canada After 20 Years of NAFTA * R ODRIGO  G ÓMEZ **A RGELIA  M UÑOZ  L ARROA ***  *   This research was funded by the Faculty Research Program of the Canadian Government in 2008, Ful- bright-García Robles Research Grant from 2013-2014, and Conacyt Estancias Sabáticas 2013-2014. ** Communications Department, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa, México.*** PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  174 R ODRIGO  G ÓMEZ   AND  A RGELIA  M UÑOZ  L ARROANORTEAMÉRICA  T HEORETICAL  S  TAND In theoretical terms, we consider cultural industries goods and services that have a higher symbolic value than their practical use, as they are sources of communication, entertainment, artistic appreciation, and information (Scott, 2000). They are also in-dustrial processes, since they are multiplied into tangible or intangible copies for consumers (Bustamante, 2003). With this in mind, we position our study under the political economy of culture approach that examines “the power relations, which mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources” (Mosco, 2009: 2), including cultural industries. The political economy tradition has “a strong commitment to historical analysis, to . . . the study of social value . . . and, nally, to social intervention and praxis” (Mosco, 1996: 17). Additionally, the politi-cal economy foundation on institutional economics has highlighted “the constraints imposed by social custom, social status, and social institutions on all behaviour, in-cluding market behaviour” (Mosco, 2009: 52). For those reasons, it is an appropriate approach for studying industrial development and cultural policies under the social framework of a free trade agreement. We conducted a historical and critical analysis to identify the dierent ways in which NAFTA  members have addressed cultural industries, specically, in terms of the dierent congurations between public intervention and private enterprise (Gold-ing and Murdock, 2000: 72). Consistent with the political economy of culture approach, we employed a criti-cal realist methodology, which is based on the assumption that although “objective reality” is unattainable, through a critical examination, it is possible to “get empirical feedback from those aspects of the world that are accessible” (McEvoy and Richards, 2006: 69). This methodology combines analyses of qualitative and quantitative data, as well as srcinal and secondary data (that is, from previous research) (Cohen and Crabtree, 2006). To collect the data, we drew on previous research, ocial statistics, and media reports as well as srcinal document analysis and statistical systematiza-tions. This triangulation allowed us to compare dierent sets of information, to reveal dierent facets of the topic, and to contextualize it (Cohen and Crabtree, 2006). This research logic allowed us to establish links between cultural public policies and eco- nomic indicators. Our focus on cultural industries acknowledges that they are at the economic core of the cultural sector in each country. This has been especially true over the last two decades, in which cultural industries have grown constantly and more than the average of the other industrial and economic sectors (Hesmondhalgh, 2013). In that context, several countries and international organizations have participated in  175 C ULTURAL  I NDUSTRIES   AND  P OLICY   IN  M EXICO   AND  C ANADAESSAYS emerging cultural policy debates regarding how to best address economic growth in relation to culture (Hesmondhalgh and Pratt, 2005). At the same time, technological convergence (Murdock, 2003) has important im-plications for cultural industries’ dynamics, mainly due to the international division of labor through the reshaping of creative jobs, skills’ structures, and labor organizations,  but also regarding cultural industries’ distribution and consumption in multiscreen and mobile platforms. This poses major challenges for cultural industries’ policy design . In addition, our research design draws on compared policy studies that have  been categorized as “case-oriented” or “variable-oriented.” In line with the former, we adopt a historical-institutional approach with emphasis on the dierences of the cases presented. In accordance with the latter, we also focus on the cases’ similarities to pres- ent generalizations (Imbeau et al., 2000). We approached our study from both direc-tions since in this way we can provide a broad critical overview of the topic and, to an extent, establish links among cases. Finally, it is important to clarify that we think of NAFTA  as an example for under-standing cultural policy-making under the specic constraints of free-trade logic. We also infer that similar conditions exist in comparable free-trade government ini- tiatives under prevailing global capitalism. O VERVIEW   OF    NAFTA  M EMBERS Since the North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) took eect in 1994, a num- ber of disputes have arisen, and dierent sectors of the three member countries have complained about dierent issues (Vega, 2005). Nonetheless, economic ex-change, investment, and migration ows among the three countries have increased (Weintraub, 2004). During this period, economic interdependence between the Unit- ed States   and Canada as well as between the U.S. and Mexico has increased (Cha- bat, 2000). However, the Canadian-Mexican trading relationship continues to be of small signicance.Marked inequalities exist among the three NAFTA  countries, especially in so-cio-economic terms. For example, while in 2009 the gross domestic product per capita in the United States was US$46 360 and in Canada, US$41 960, in Mexico it was barely US$8 960. 1  In the same vein, if we consider the United Nations De-velopment Program ( UNDP ) human development index, Mexico is ranked num- 1  The GDP  of the three countries in 2012 was the following: Canada, US$1.82 billion; Mexico, US$1.18 billion; and the U.S., US$15.47 billion (World Economic Outlook Database, 2013).  176 R ODRIGO  G ÓMEZ   AND  A RGELIA  M UÑOZ  L ARROANORTEAMÉRICA  ber 58, while Canada and the U.S. are in eleventh and third place worldwide, respectively ( UNDP  , 2013). Likewise, important political, demographic, and socio-cultural dieren-ces exist among the three NAFTA  countries. Mexico covers nearly 2 million km 2  , with a population of 112 million in 2010, making it the most populous Spanish-speaking nation in the world. In addition, Spanish coexists alongside 62 indigenous languages ocially recognized by the Mexican state. The population is ethnically composed of 75 percent mestizos (mixed indigenous and European); 12 per cent in-digenous people; 12 percent of European srcin; and the remaining 1 percent of Afro-Mexicans, Asian-Mexicans, and Arabic-Mexicans ( INEGI  , 2010). As for its political system, Mexico is a federal republic considered to be moving toward dem-ocratic normality since the second half of the 1990s.Alternatively, Canada is the world’s second largest country, with an area of 9.9 million km 2  and a population of 33.74 million, 45 percent of British srcin, 27 percent of French srcin, and the rest from dierent ethnic backgrounds. Its ocial langua-ges are English and French. For decades, the Canadian federation has been con-sidered a multicultural country, since it encompasses dierent ethnic groups from all around the world. Its cultural diversity is reected mainly in the cities of To-ronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Canada’s political system is a parliamentary mon-archy with a prime minister and is considered to be a consolidated democracy. Finally, the U.S. has an area of 9.6 million km 2  , making it the world’s third largest nation in terms of territory and also in terms of its population, 308 million in 2010. Demographically, it has 63.7 percent   European descendants, 12.6 percent Afro-Americans, 4.8 percent of Asian srcin, and 0.9 percent Native Americans. The Latino population represents 16.3 percent (50 477 million) of the total, most of Mexican srcin (about 30 million) ( Ennis Ríos-Vargas, and Alber, 2011: 2-3) . Ac -cording to the 2010 census, English, which is the ocial language, is predominant, although Spanish is spoken by more than 28 million people in households and the workplace ( Ennis Ríos-Vargas and Alber, 2011 ). As a result, there is a signicant market potential for cultural industries in Spanish. In addition, large U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Philadelphia, and Boston are considered cosmopolitan metropolises because they are home to a large number of immigrants from all around the world. The U.S. political system is a federal constitutional republic with a president. Like Canada, it is considered a consolidated democracy. This brief overview of the three NAFTA  member states gives us a basic backdrop for the dierences and asymmetries posed by each nation’s specic characteristics and the complexities they give rise to within the trade agreement.  177 C ULTURAL  I NDUSTRIES   AND  P OLICY   IN  M EXICO   AND  C ANADAESSAYS NAFTA ’ S  B  ACKGROUND We shift the focus now to cultural policy in Mexico, which before the signing of NAFTA  became a eld of signicant debate. This was mainly due to the fact that the Mexican government never resorted to the cultural exception  clause that the Cana-dian government had incorporated into the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement ( FTA ) ve years before (Mosco, 1990: 46), stating, “Cultural industries are exempted from the provisions in this agreement”   (Article 2005 [1]) .  Therefore, by excluding cultural industries from the free ow of merchandise and investments, Canadians were able to partially protect them (Bonl Batalla, 1992: 159).It is important to remember that the FTA  was promoted in the 1980s by the U.S. Republican administration and President Ronald Reagan, who proposed a new re-lationship between North American countries. This tactic was especially designed to rehearse the U.S. American project to have more inuence in the world economy (Mosco, 1990). In other words, this agreement was based on the commercial and political direction that the U.S. would promote later on in international trade agree-ments like the General Agreement on Taris and Trade ( GATT )  –in the Uruguay Round of the World Trade Organization ( WTO )– in 1993 and NAFTA  in 1994. Those U.S.-designed agreements represented the geopolitical answer to the European Community process of economic integration (Chomsky, 1998).Vincent Mosco considered the FTA  a discourse that, “in itself . . . is a cultural product whose visions and language reect the culture of [U.S.] American capital-ism. Essentially, the FTA  is a cultural export from the U.S. to Canada, which, if suc-cessful, will be exported to other countries” (1990: 45). In this regard, Mosco’s obser-vation proved true over the following years. It is precisely from that perspective that we understand the problems, distortions, and contradictions that have weighed on NAFTA  after 20 years of operation and as the successor to the FTA . In other words, giv-en that the objectives, characteristics, and logic of the treaty were not in accordance with the cultural and socio-economic conditions of most of the Mexican people, its eects have been negative for national agricultural and industrial sectors (Gazol, 2004). On the contrary, due to the agreement’s conguration to favor the needs of large multinational companies, it has beneted the transnational export sector in Mexico and big capital in the three countries.The objective of the Mexican administration under President Carlos Salinas (1988-1994) was to place NAFTA  at the core of its economic project to accelerate Mex-ico’s modernization through private investment of both domestic and foreign cap-ital. This in turn was expected to create a large number of jobs and improve devel-opment levels. In summary, Salinas’s government promoted the idea that the signing
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