Manoeuvring at the Margins

Constraints Faced by Small States in International Trade Negotiations

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Of enduring concern for small states are the numerous constraints they face in international trade negotiations. This study provides evidence that small states can still have an important influence over the outcomes of negotiations if they successfully identify and tackle these underlying constraints.

Building on existing scholarship, Manoeuvring at the Margins is the first attempt to thoroughly analyse the views of representatives from small states on the constraints they face in this area. The authors, led by Dr Ngaire Woods and Dr Carolyn Deere Birkbeck of the University of Oxford, highlight three areas where small states can maximise their potential influence: establishing an effective negotiating team by strengthening human resources; harnessing the support of civil society and the private sector; and improving negotiation strategies. The recommendations they provide will be useful in assisting trade policy-makers in small states to achieve greater success in WTO and other trade arenas.



Introduction: The Scope and Methods of the Study

For several decades, there has been considerable debate about the position of small states in the international trading system. Recognition of the challenges small states face in international trade negotiations and in reaping benefits from trade has spurred a range of initiatives on the part of national governments and the international community. Central among these have been a suite of capacity building projects for small states, including training, technical assistance, legal advice, institution building and the provision of research. Despite such efforts, there is an enduring concern that small states continue to face a series of constraints in their international trade relations.


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