Magazine article International Trade Forum

Why Coalitions?

Magazine article International Trade Forum

Why Coalitions?

Article excerpt

Services players in several developing countries are setting up coalitions for collaboration to boost the sector.

Just a few years ago, services coalitions were mainly located in developed economies such as Hong Kong (China) and the United States. Increasingly, developing countries are looking at regrouping their service sectors under some form of umbrella organization. Today, countries such as St Lucia, Tanzania and Trinidad and Tobago are planning to establish coalitions.

Strength in numbers

A coalition partnership can have a wide range of activities from networking and lobbying to coordination. In The Art of Coalition-Building: A Guide for Community Leaders (1984), Cheri Brown defined a coalition as: "An organization of diverse interest groups that combine their human and material resources to effect a specific change the members are unable to bring about independently."

Certainly, the power of numbers creates a synergy to achieve goals and bring about change much more effectively than individual small firms, which form the majority of companies in the service sector.

Individual service providers usually discover that they need other providers to create a significant voice that government officials, politicians or others will take seriously.

Services coalitions are created for many different reasons, usually decided by the proponents, including:

* Recognizing the importance of the service sector. Services represent more than 50% of gross domestic product (GDP) in most developing economies and are one of the fastest-growing sectors. The message is clear: public and private sectors need to focus on promoting trade in services. Until recently, little attention was given to services trade in developing countries. A services coalition builds awareness.

* Advocacy. Service providers can be constrained by flawed or non-existent policies, necessitating policy development or reform. …

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