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    Towards a Dialogue for Development


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2002

    "We are in the midst of an unprecedented global trade negotiation, the Doha Development Agenda...
    Trade agreements must be usable and pragmatic...
    In trade talks, it pays to have the private sector involved right from the beginning."

    Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi,
    Director-General, WTO

    Making Advocacy Your BusinessWTO Negotiations Businesses in developing and transition economies can help to shape the international trade landscape; there are many successful examples. In developing a dialogue with government, the best bet for impact may be to work collectively, such as through industry associations. Know your objectives. Are they...

    • access to foreign markets?
    • temporary shelter from foreign competition?
    • a counterweight to the interests of other groups?
    Nurture your network. Do you...
    • coordinate with business groups in your country and region?
    • exploit synergies with NGOs, trade unions, government departments, political parties, universities or international organizations?
    Stay informed and analyse options. Do you...
    • monitor trade policy developments?
    • know which rules have the biggest impact on your industry and your firm?
    • follow the trade negotiations calendar?
    • rethink your strategy in the light of new negotiating opportunities?
    Systematize your approach. Do you have...
    • channels to communicate with government negotiators?
    • regular opportunities to discuss issues with business counterparts?
    • dedicated professionals to conduct research, monitor developments and develop support materials for your advocacy?
    Make your views known. Do you or your industry representatives...
    • speak out on policy proposals likely to affect your industry and corporate performance?
    • participate actively in formal and informal consultations?
    • have the necessary stature and access?
    • focus, position, structure and support your arguments?
    • coordinate the timing of your presentations?
    • stay in tune with government policy?
    "Successful negotiations for the Doha Development Agenda depend, to a large degree, on the quality of collaboration between national trade negotiators and business leaders.
    In its absence, trade negotiating strategies cannot serve a country's business interests."

    J. Denis Bélisle
    Executive Director, ITC