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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Political Economy of Global Sectoral Agreements in Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Finance

  • Author(s): Park, Bora Clara
  • Advisor(s): Aggarwal, Vinod
  • et al.
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This dissertation examines variation in the institutional design of the WTO sectoral agreements in IT, telecommunications, and finance. It aims to understand why and how states negotiated sectoral agreements and traces the source of state preferences to an industry’s core business and its major user industries. Going against the conventional wisdom, my analysis leads to three surprising findings. First, sectoral negotiations were not limited to the sector under discussion. They incorporated supplier (upstream) and user (downstream) industries in the global value chain, especially the preferences of user industries. Second, an industry’s global value chains changed the politics of lobbying by shaping the preferences of the firms along the chain and the coalitions they formed. Third, global value chains and industry coalitions affected the institutional design of these international accords in IT, telecommunications, and finance. I show how the number of user industries in the global value chains affected the scope, depth, and membership of sectoral agreements. Each empirical chapter examines the trade negotiations in the IT, telecommunications, and financial services industries. By analyzing multi-country, single-issue agreements, I show a clear pathway and mechanism through which firms utilize trade policies to better serve their large corporate clients. Global value chains, which maps the linkage of goods, services, capital, people, and information, is a specific type of complex interdependence that is evolving and affects every polity within the system. This approach can help answer new theoretical puzzles in international trade such as the rise of trade in services, minilateral agreements such as the TPP and the TTIP, and the effects of these developments for developing countries. It provides a framework with which to understand trade negotiations and raises new questions for scholars.

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This item is under embargo until November 2, 2020.