Use of advocacy and coalition-building
Most issues addressed by commercial diplomacy today are political in that they affect the interests of many stakeholders. A stakeholder is anyone who has a stake in the outcome of decisions and who can exercise political influence of one kind or another to shape the outcome. Stakeholders in trade policy decisions can include:
The increased focus in trade negotiations on domestic regulatory issues has substantially increased the potential pool of stakeholders, and thus increased the domestic political dimension of commercial diplomacy.
Building coalitions within the government, industry or interest group
Commercial diplomacy increasingly requires the use of a wide range of advocacy and coalition-building tools for favorable decisions at home and abroad. To obtain the support of the home government in trade disputes with other countries, or to gain favorable decisions from the home government in on trade-related issues, the commercial diplomat must use a range of advocacy tools. Advocacy tools include letters, testimony, white papers, speeches, op-ed pieces in newspapers, phone calls and personal visits to key stakeholders and decision-makers. The commercial diplomat must also build coalitions within the government, industry or interest group -- to exert political influence in support of desired outcomes among stakeholders with political influence. Internationally, commercial diplomats must apply the same advocacy and coalition building tools to stakeholders in all other countries involved in the resolution of an international trade or investment issue.
Once a domestic decision has been reached on a trade negotiating issue, a trade dispute, or on a broader scale, on a national trade policy, commercial diplomacy moves to the international negotiation and/or dispute settlement phase of the process. The negotiation of politically sensitive issues, however, may well require further interactions with domestic stakeholders as part of a continuing consensus building process. Once an agreement is negotiated or a decision is rendered in a trade dispute, trade officials usually have to persuade domestic decision- makers to effectively implement the agreed outcome.