Volume 50 (2016)

Volume 50 (2016) / Issue 2

Dirk De Bièvre, Arlo Poletti, Marcel Hanegraaff, Jan Beyers, 'International Institutions and Interest Mobilization: The WTO and Lobbying in EU and US Trade Policy' (2016) 50 Journal of World Trade, Issue 2, pp. 289–312


What affects lobbying patterns in trade policymaking? Existing explanations focus mainly on economic determinants, like the rise of intra-industry trade. We argue that the international trade institutions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) themselves are also key for understanding which type of interest mobilization is likely to arise. We contend that the institutional setting of issue-linkage based trade negotiations creates incentives for firms to work through broad sector-wide lobbying organizations, while judicial adjudication and enforcement in WTO dispute settlement stimulates de-linkage, leading to product-specific interest mobilization. We illustrate how these two arguments can explain the coexistence of both sector-wide and product-specific lobbying in the contemporary international trade regime. We provide evidence on interest mobilization for United States (US) and European Union (EU) initiated WTO disputes, and on EU and US domestic interest organizations that mobilize during multilateral trade rounds or are present at WTO ministerial conferences.

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ISSN: 1011-6702
ID: TRAD2016014