Process Matters: Sustainable Development and Domestic Trade Transparency

By Mark Halle, Robert Wolfe, Robert Wolfe on August 20, 2007
Experienced trade negotiators know that their work begins at home in learning what matters for their constituents, and it ends at home in ensuring that any new obligations can be implemented in legislation. Broad public education and focused solicitation of information from economic actors contribute to a trade policy that will be both legitimate and effective.Trade policy democracy begins at home.

This book contributes to a growing literature on the national trade policy process. Does an open and transparent process alter the way a government perceives the public interest? Or is trade policy still dominated by whoever has the ear of government? These questions are addressed in case studies of Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Brazil, India and South Africa. The authors assess the policy process in terms both of transparency and of opportunities for meaningful participation by stakeholders ranging from export-oriented commercial organizations to rejectionist NGOs.

This book also illuminates how the policy process can contribute to sustainable development by ensuring that the needs of growth, the environment and social cohesion are all considered. If trade policy is made in the light of day, then there is a chance that it will not merely serve the interests of a narrow elite.

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Publication details

IISD, 2007