Trade and cultural diplomacy have been recurrent issues for the government lately. As the Coalition highlighted last month, there have been a suite of good news on both fronts with the conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the inauguration of the Canada-China Joint Committee on Culture.
The latest initiative came from the Senate. The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade has undertaken a Study on the impact and utilization of Canadian culture and arts in Canadian foreign policy and diplomacy, and several members of the Coalition have already had the opportunity to appear before the Committee.
In order to contribute to this study, the Canadian Arts Coalition developed a brief exploring national and international frameworks supporting or restricting potential cultural diplomacy.
Reciprocity is key
The Cornerstone of Cultural Diplomacy argues that success in trade and diplomacy is dependent on there being true reciprocal relationships with our foreign partners. The brief consequently explores three legislative and regulatory frameworks that can enable or impede reciprocity in cultural diplomacy:
- Artist mobility: Canada’s foreign workers regulations are particularly progressive and should be emulated by our foreign partners.
- International taxation: Canada’s fiscal regime is particularly cumbersome. Cultural diplomacy presents an opportunity to reduce fiscal barriers to touring within our tax treaties.
- Artist’s Resale Right: Canada lags behind in the adoption of the Artist’s Resale Right, a market-based mechanism endorsed by many of our trade partners.
The Coalition’s recommendations in these areas were shaped with input from the Performing Arts Alliance, the Performing Arts Tax Working Group, CARFAC and RAAV.
Unfortunately, none of these recommendations were addressed in the 2018 federal budget, even though the Coalition, the Performing Arts Tax Working Group and CARFAC had been advocating for changes to international taxation and for the adoption of the Artist’s Resale Right for several years. We are hopeful that the Senate study will contribute to amplify these messages, and will pave the way to better alignment between cultural diplomacy, trade, and legislative frameworks.