From National Champions to Global Players? Lobbying by Dominant Providers during the WTO’s Basic Telecom Negotiations
Business and Society
229 - 252 p.
lobbying, public services, elecommunications, World Trade Organization, European Union
Observers generally assume that firms which engage in lobbying know what they want. Business—government relations and especially the corporate political activities of network operators during the basic telecommunication negotiations of the World Trade Organization present a slightly different picture. European monopoly providers benefited from the old international regime and initially ignored trade discussions in their sector. In the course of negotiations, however, they became part of a three-level game, which obliged them to consider national, European, and multilateral objectives simultaneously. In the course of these complex negotiations, their preferences evolved. Because governments advanced independently on the liberalization project, companies adapted their policy stances from reluctance to support for the negotiations. This article thus cautions against treatments of lobbying that consider preferences as exogenously given.