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Managing the Politics of Trade
can benefit from this Manual?
-Educators, students, and practitioners of commercial diplomacy
including representatives of government, business, and non-governmental
organizations and associations.
-What is Commercial Diplomacy?
I- Understanding the Nature of Trade Politics in Globalizing World
Chapter One-- The Political Challenge of Commercial Diplomacy in a Globalizing World.
Trade policy today covers a wide range of domestic policies,
not just tariffs. Increasingly,
the formulation of trade policy involves multiple interest groups
competing to achieve protection for, or advancement of, their interests.
In the domestic and foreign arena, commercial diplomats may have to
address environmental and/or labor interests, restrictive or biased
regulatory schemes, or discriminatory application of domestic or international
Trade officials control only a few policies at home; they negotiate
abroad. Learning to navigate the cross-cultural, language, and diverse
political and governmental systems in foreign countries is critical
to the success of a commercial diplomat.
Implications of wide
policy coverage for the politics of trade.
Politics of tariffs was never easy, but was limited to relatively
Implication of wide dispersion
of responsibility for policies covered by trade
officials have to not only manage the politics of trade, but also
co-manage politics of domestic policies with other government departments
and agencies. (e.g., trade officials/ministries with state department,
foreign relations, defense, commerce, environmental, labor, etc.)
Two-- Who are all the
stakeholders who can influence policy outcomes?
Definition of a stakeholder. (Any individual, group, organization, or governmental entity that has an interest (stake) in the outcome of a particular policy debate, regulatory reform, or legislative initiative.
Chapter Three- Understanding the Motivations
and Objectives (interests) of Stakeholders.
does each of the various stakeholder groups measure success?
other motivations influence decisions?
Chapter Four – How Do Stakeholders Exert Influence
The Avenues for Exerting Political Influence include:
Tools for Exerting Political Influence
Tools for Reinforcing Political Influence
Tools for Building Broad Public Support
II. Understanding and Managing the Relationship with Politicians
Chapter Five—Understanding Politicians
Chapter Six—Managing the Relationship with Politicians
Managing the Political Process
Chapter Seven –The Asymmetries of Trade Politics and Its Implications
Sources of Political Asymmetry
of Political Asymmetries Associated with Trade Liberalization:
of gains/losses among
of gains/losses by
· Time horizon of winners/losers long term short term Motivation of winners/losers low high
of organizing winners/losers high low
of free riders among winners/losers high
How these asymmetries lead to imbalances in
the politics of trade:
of political asymmetry for proponents of restrictive trade measures.
How they can use the political asymmetry to their advantage:
of Political Asymmetry for Proponents of Trade Liberalization-How
they can overcome the asymmetry or use to their advantage:
Chapter Eight—A Trade Official’s Guide to Managing the Political Process in Trade
Chapter Nine – A Business Manager’s Guide to Managing the Political Process in Trade
Chapter Ten – An NGO Manager’s Guide to Managing the Political Process in Trade (NGO may be trade or industry association or special interest, e.g., labor, environment, human rights, etc.)
Environmental protection –natural resources (air, ozone layer,water,
habitat, rain forests, farm land, nature reserves, minerals, etc.)
of all stakeholders including perceived allies, opponents, and undecided
of coalition to advance campaign including development of legislative,
media, and fundraising strategies
of budget and timeline
Chapter Eleven – A Legislator’s Guide to Managing the Political Process in Trade
of policy objectives and preferred outcomes as influenced by perception
of constituent, supporter, and other interests.
Identification of all stakeholders’ interests
including perceived supporters, opponents, and undecided
Identification of policy options, policy history, existing
remedies, options, and legislative reforms
Meeting with stakeholders with priority to constituents, contributors,
supporters, fellow members of legislature
Determination of self-interest in advancing or opposing policy
initiative. Identification of legislative allies, opponents, neutrals.
Identification of potential advantageous trade-offs with other
Review of stakeholder differences to determine potential for
compromise, creative reform to satisfy multiple interests and interest
Assess impact of maintaining status quo, doing nothing.
Marshall resources among staff, other legislators, supporters
to design legislative campaign including “Dear Colleague letters”,
meetings, amendment drafting and review, communications, etc.
IV. Designing the Institutional
Framework for Managing the Politics of Trade
Chapter Twelve-The Political Skills Required To Be A Successful Commercial Diplomat
Ability to identify interests of
client/self and translate into identifiable policy objectives (negotiated,
legislated, executive decisions, etc.)
Chapter Thirteen – The Need for A Participatory Process to Build Consensus
expansive in your identification of stakeholders
to as many stakeholders as possible how their interests are served
by your definition of the problem and articulation of solutions/preferred
Be inclusionary—a perceived or past opponent may share interests
in current issue campaign. Learn
from opponents how they view the problem to fashion creative/inclusive
remedies that may win their support or reduce their opposition
Don’t make the mistake of generalization or stereotyping—There
may be diverse interests, perspective and viewpoints within different
elements of a bureaucracy.
Create opportunities to bring all stakeholders to the table,
even if in informal settings. Knowledge is power, the more you learn
about other stakeholder interests the more effective you can be in
influencing direction of reforms, amendments, policies, etc.
Use task forces, subcommittees, inter-agency commissions, etc.
to repeat and reinforce your analysis, proposals, etc, and to gain
intelligence on sources of support and opposition to your position.
Communicate regularly with your constituents, clients, and
legislative allies. Be
sure to inform political allies of any fundamental changes in facts,
situation, etc. Draw apparently disinterested legislators into the
discussion by communicating and translating how they can benefit from
Don’t allow a political/legislative ally to be caught by surprise
through a changed circumstance and request that they keep you informed
of any changes in position, outlook, disposition, etc.
Build your reputation for honesty, integrity, and follow-through.
Once lost, these traits become almost impossible to restore.
Chapter 14—Build Your Resource and Data Base In Support of Your Commercial
- Develop a library of frequently used resource materials including articles, books, videos, etc
- Develop your own rolodex (contact list) and cross reference by subject matter categories, e.g, scientists, economists, media contacts, researchers, regional experts, language experts, environmentalists, labor experts, agriculturalists, etc.
- Maintain contact with your network with periodic correspondence- send interesting articles, updates, greeting cards, etc.
- Stay current on changes in law related to trade and commerce through subscriptions to trade journals, WTO newsletters and websites, Inside U.S. Trade (which includes reference to international trade issues)
- Provide information/updates to media contacts even when not pushing a story idea or campaign
- Publish periodic papers, articles, books, etc. to maintain your visibility and to establish your expertise.
- Study language, current events, and subscribe to international journals, daily papers, etc. (Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Inside U.S. Trade, AND foreign dailies, journals, etc. with focus on your areas of interest.)
- Follow developments in the arts, politics, sports, entertainment, literature, music, etc. to maintain a ready knowledge base to build your relationships with foreign diplomats, business representatives, legislators, etc.
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