Trade policy making in Latin America: a compared analysis

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Trade policy making in Latin America: a compared analysis


This paper examines the way trade policy is formulated in a representative set of Latin American countries. Despite the fact that the economic reform process in Latin America has been substantial, the benefits of the reforms are under question. Some claim that part of the current disenchantment with structural reforms, including trade policy, in Latin America may be due to the fact that the quality of policies and of policy implementation has been tainted by structural characteristics of policymaking processes. In recent years, the interest has arisen to know and understand how decisions on trade policy are taken in Latin America. This case is a mixture of schemes, which are more or less applicable depending on the actors involved internationally (multilateral, plurilateral or bilateral processes), how deep is the democratic tradition of the country in question and what is the level of organisation and complexity of the civil society. Bureaucracies in Latin America play a major role in designing and orienting the decisions on trade policy. On the other hand, the Legislative Power assumes an important role in the final stage, when it must accept or reject the terms of negotiations. Finally, co-ordination and consultation mechanisms within the public sector —and between it and other relevant players, such as the Legislative Power and the civil society— are weak.