Cooperation and Closure in Bilateral Trade Negotiations

Larry Crump

Global Cooperation Research Papers 17, Duisburg 2017

Keywords: Cooperation and closure, bilateral negotiation, free trade agreements (FTA), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

DOI: 10.14282/2198-0411-GCRP-17


Little is known about cooperation between nations engaged in a regional economic association. This study investigates cooperation and closure between Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies engaged in negotiating five bilateral free trade agreements (FTA), including the Australia-Singapore FTA 2003, United States-Singapore FTA 2003, Chile-United States FTA 2003, Australia-United States FTA 2004, and Korea-Australia FTA 2014. This study found that a number of factors bring about or interfere with cooperation at the closure stage. Negotiation closure occurs within FTAs when discussions shift from trade diplomats focused on technical matters to senior national leaders focused on political decisions. Creditable deadline, party stability and instability, and linkage dynamics were also found to support or interfere with cooperation at the closure stage in FTA negotiations. Often FTA negotiations are concluded on the sidelines of meetings sponsored by international organizations including APEC Leaders' Summit and Ministerial meetings.

​​​​​​​The Author

Larry Crump is Deputy Director of the APEC Study Centre at Griffith University (Brisbane Australia), where he lectures in international negotiation and international management for the Griffith Business School, and a Senior Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research. He sits on the editorial board of the International Negotiation journal, the Negotiation Journal, and the Journal of Negotiation and Conflict Management. He specializes in the study of complex negotiations in multilateral, regional and bilateral settings to develop theory that has scholarly and professional utility.

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