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Trade in Culture Services: A Handbook of Concepts and Methods

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By Culture Statistics Program

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Executive summary

Culture services data provide information on the value of imports and exports of Canada’s international trade in services. Trade in culture services is measured according to the concepts and definitions laid out in the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics. The framework includes the following activities in the definition of culture services: creative services, intellectual property rights for culture products, artistic expression, content services, and preservation services. International transactions in services data are estimated according to the conceptual framework and methods of the Canadian System of National Accounts (CSNA). Data are typically presented by type of service, type of culture category, or by trading partner.

Culture trade is on the agenda at a number of bilateral and multilateral organizations in which Canada participates, including the World Trade Organization and talks related to the Free Trade Zone of the Americas. Canadian negotiators and other officials working on these issues benefit from having reliable estimates and analysis of culture trade in developing policy positions and bargaining strategies for negotiations, and in preparing cases and defences for trade tribunals, such as countervail hearings.

Further, the promotion of culture exports is the subject of numerous Government of Canada, provincial and local programs, including the Trade Routes program of the Department of Canadian Heritage (PCH), Foreign Affairs Canada, International Trade Canada, the Cultural Industries Development Fund of the Business Development Bank of Canada, and the International Markets Program of Telefilm Canada. Policy-makers require relevant and usable statistics in order to develop policy initiatives. As an added benefit, statistics and analyses serve clients from culture industries, associations, and interest groups in assessing export markets, foreign competition, and issues and trends in the sector. Statistics Canada culture trade data also support policy analysis by the Department of Canadian Heritage, and are used by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) in its international studies of the culture sector.

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