A FEW CAVEATS A point of terminology


A point of terminology should be clarified from the
start. Throughout this manual, the term “trade ministry”
is used to mean whatever government agency is
given the principal responsibility for the making of
trade policy, and especially the conduct of trade
negotiations. This does not necessarily mean that the
term “trade” appears in the title of that ministry, nor
indeed that the agency is deemed to be a ministry;
it might alternatively be designated as a department,
bureau, or other entity within a larger ministry, or
be operated as some other type of independent
or interministerial body. The same institution that
takes the lead in trade negotiations may also be
responsible for other trade-related functions, such as
the promotion of exports and investment; alternatively,
some or all of these tasks may be assigned to other
government bodies, to public–private partnerships,
or be outsourced altogether to the private sector. For
the sake of simplicity, however, all of these various
arrangements are subsumed here under the rubric of
“the trade ministry”.
The analysis makes no effort to urge the adoption
of any specific philosophy or doctrine regarding
trade policy and its place in a country’s development
strategy, nor does it identify a single, best approach
that countries might take to the ministerial division
of labour.

 The underlying assumption throughout is
that no matter what objectives a country may seek
in its trade policy, and no matter what organizational
arrangements or negotiating tactics it may adopt, its
chances of success will be greater if it has in place
procedures for systematically monitoring and analysing
economic and political data, efficiently managing the
flow of internal and external communications, dealing
effectively with all partners and stakeholders, and
devising policy within a well-reasoned framework. 

countries face the questions that are posed here, but
each of them are responsible for finding the answers
that best suit their own circumstances.
It is also important to stress that this is not a strategy
manual, providing countries with guidance on how
best to achieve their objectives in a given negotiation.
There already exists abundant literature on his subject,
filled with the requisite quotations from Sun Tzu and
employing the sometimes arcane jargon of aspiration
points, zones of possible agreement, and BATNAs
(best alternatives to a negotiated agreement).

contributions to that literature instruct readers on
how best to create and claim value, how to choose
between integrative and distributive strategies, how
to play a two-level game, how to know the difference
between a true threat and a mere bluff, and how a
good negotiator tries not just to persuade one’s
counterpart but even to shape his or her perceptions.
While recognizing the value of this literature, and urging
that readers familiarize themselves with the theory and
practice of negotiations, the present manual does not
itself constitute such a guide. It instead offers pointers
on how countries might go about devising one that is
custom built to their own needs.
Readers will note that at many points in this analysis,
data are provided on how developing countries
compare on certain issues. Those comparisons
generally exclude developing or transitional countries in
either Europe or the Middle East (except North Africa),
and also exclude major oil exporters.2
Those exclusions
are based on the very different circumstances that
both sets of countries find themselves in vis à vis
developing countries as a whole. Including data on
those countries, or on the economies in transition,
could severely skew those comparisons that seek to
identify the relationship (if any) between a given factor
and average income per capita. Note also that World
Bank data are used whenever possible, and most
often for 2015. If 2015 data are not available for a
given country, then the 2014 figures are used; except
where otherwise noted, countries for which 2014 data
are not available are excluded from any table.

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