Transparency and Public Participation in the Canadian Trade Policy Process
PROCESS MATTERS: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND DOMESTIC TRADE TRANSPARENCY, Mark Halle, Robert Wolfe, eds., pp. 21-72, Earthprint Library, 2007
Posted: 19 Mar 2009
Date Written: July 1, 2007
It is now generally accepted that consultations with citizens and economic actors are a fundamental part of making good trade policy (OECD, 2001b), not least because officials need information too, if they are to be effective, and not just on the narrow "interests" of economic actors. New legal texts change little when they are incongruent with the informal practices and mutual expectations of actors in the trading system. Trade policy officials cannot make up their country's "interests"-they need to hear from their citizens and their firms who are engaged in trade as importers and exporters, or producers and consumers. What problems do economic actors encounter? What new opportunities do they wish to pursue? Where are the rules as codified in the WTO discordant with their daily practices in the trading system? How are market practices interfering with the aspirations of citizens? The importance attached to transparency is, or should be,more than rhetorical: it goes to the heart of the policy process. This paper examines these issues in the context of one WTO Member, Canada.
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