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Competitively-Linked and Non-Competitively-Linked Negotiations: Bilateral Trade Policy Negotiations in Australia, Singapore and the United States

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It is unusual to find a negotiation not linked to at least one other negotiation. In some domains, such as international trade policy, we can identify negotiation networks with parties simultaneously involved in negotiations in global, multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade policy settings. A single party (i.e., a national government) will manage similar issues in all four settings and also manage these same issues with multiple parties in a single setting. International trade policy is one of many "linkage-rich" environments.

This study examines the relationship between two discrete but linked treaty negotiations: the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement of 2003 (SAFTA) and the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement of 2003 (USSFTA). Case analysis identifies five structural factors that enhance the potential and fundamentally shape the nature of negotiation linkage dynamics. If linkage occurs then role theory can be employed to define two functional role types, a link-pin party (Singapore in this study) and linked parties (Australia and the United States). Such theory and case analysis support the development of propositions and help establish guidance for managing negotiation behavior. Key structural characteristics that appear to create linkage dynamics in this study are used to build a four-part structural framework that maps the universe of negotiation-linkage phenomena and determines the fundamental nature of four discrete linkage conditions. This framework also provides descriptive and prescriptive guidance for managing strategy and power in linked negotiations.


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