The mood in Europe and North America is deeply sombre, as business leaders, economists and policymakers alike expect the economic climate to get worse before it gets better. Therefore, the business-government relationship is of particular relevance. Business advocacy in trade policy can improve the competitive position of EU exporters in foreign markets by helping governments work out better trade strategies. EU firms need to push for improved foreign market access of their products and support regulations that improve their competitive position. EU enterprises need to lobby for trade policies that protect them from foreign competitors and support them through reduced tariffs, quotas, and other protective measures. EU industry groups need to engage in business advocacy to limit or counter-balance the efforts of other interest groups.

In developing appropriate business advocacy strategy, the following decisions should be made:


  • What is the basic business advocacy objective? ( protection from competition, better access to foreign markets etc.);
  • What coalitions can be built and how ? (Who might be the best domestic or foreign coalition partners, who are the major opponents);
  • What should be the lobbying main message, how should it be delivered, who are the main government and other bodies that should be convinced and how to access them, how to neutralize counter-lobbying efforts?


There is no simple blue-print for business advocacy in trade policy. However, there are steps that can increase the chances of success. Effective advocacy requires the investment of knowledge, time, commitment and funds. It requires that associations identify, analyze and prioritize those issues for advocacy that affect the interests of all its members. Most important, advocacy can advance private sector participation in EU policy making by creating an entry point for genuine dialogue and partnership with the EU institutions as well as with all stakeholders (Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Trade Associations, Professional Associations, Labour Unions, Research and Educational Institutions, Individual Business Entities, Consultants, Consumer Associations, Civil Society Organization) and Intergovernmental Organizations (WTO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN ESCAP etc.), International Business Groups and International NGOs.

The ultimate reward will be improved democratic governance with real, open and transparent business participation into EU policy making that produces more sensible and workable trade policies that are good for the economy and society as a whole. Growth + Competitiveness+ Innovation will put the EU back on track.

Add new comment