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Lessons from other regions' experience in negotiations

Working papers

Written by Sheila Page

This paper, prepared for COMESA-SADC Workshop, covered why regions negotiate jointly, including legal obligations (whether common external policies or the demands of external institutions), common interests, common approaches and policies, and negotiating strength. In most cases they negotiate together in some fora or on some subjects, and separately on others, so that it is clear that they are operating criteria for choice. In some cases, however, groups regularly negotiate together (the common approach model).

It examined some examples of regional groups (excluding COMESA and SADC). This included CARICOM (and the Regional Negotiating Machinery), in most detail, plus SACU, and MERCOSUR, in some detail, and a shorter survey of others (to include the other Latin American regions and the overlapping West African organisations). For each, it analysed what subjects and in what organisations and negotiations it works together, and what criteria it used to choose where to negotiated jointly. It described the processes by which common positions are formed and the ways in which the group is formally represented in negotiations and institutions. It also summarised the relevant information about the EU.

It used this information to determine whether there are 'good' examples of defining criteria for joint negotiation or 'efficient' examples of how to implement joint negotiations which could be relevant to COMESA and SADC. This was designed to open a discussion at the meeting of: on which subjects or in which types of policy they share the characteristics which the evidence will suggest are conditions for successful joint negotiation and how structures of joint negotiation could be developed in the context of their existing institutions.

Sheila Page