Governments, Non-State Actors and Trade Policy-Making

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One of the most pressing issues confronting the multilateral trade system is the challenge posed by the rapid proliferation of preferential trade agreements. Plenty has been written about why governments might choose to negotiate preferentially or multilaterally, but until now it has been written almost exclusively from the perspective of governments. We know very little about how non-state actors view this issue of ‘forum choice', nor how they position themselves to influence choices by governments about whether to emphasize PTAs or the WTO. This book addresses that issue squarely through case studies of trade policy-making and forum choice in eight developing countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia and Thailand. The case studies are based on original research by the authors, including interviews with state and non-state actors involved in the trade policy-making process in the eight countries of this study.




This chapter explores how non-state actors (NSAs) seek to influence government policy in relation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and preferential trade agreements (PTAs) as alternative venues for international trade cooperation. Little research has been done on NSA–government interaction on trade policy development in Jordan, and almost no analysis exists that captures and contrasts this interaction in relation to multilateral as opposed to bilateral or plurilateral negotiations. This chapter, based on interviews with representatives of government and NSAs, focuses on recent developments in Jordan’s trade policy-making. It has found that NSA activity in Jordan is relatively weakly developed compared with the other cases in this study, but that it is growing, in large part as a result of the influence of international actors, including US foreign aid donors and some other international business and civil society organizations (CSOs).


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