The Politics of Free Trade in Latin America: Actors and Preferences across Trade Negotiations in Argentina and Chile
Trade negotiations have undergone significant transformations during the last 25 years. As the trade agenda broadened, negotiations moved from the reciprocal reduction of tariffs to the harmonization of regulatory frameworks, while liberalization advanced at various levels through symmetric, asymmetric and multilateral processes. Whereas the literature has extensively analyzed these transformations, a question has remained rather neglected: Under what conditions do various trade negotiations have a differential impact on the domestic process of preference formation.
Rather than taking preferences as a mechanical derivation of material costs and benefits, this study looks into the variation in the process of preference formation after the launch of symmetric (South-South), asymmetric (North-South), and multilateral trade negotiations.
The analysis suggests that the variation in the scope of the agenda, the technical requirements attached to it and the uncertainty of political outcomes have important consequences for the ways in which domestic actors identify and connect their preferences. Moreover as these elements vary across trade negotiations, when considered separately and comparatively, symmetric, asymmetric and multilateral trade agendas elicit different processes of preference formation.