In the light of the events surrounding the Seattle Ministerial in December 1999 and the fate of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, increasing attention is being paid not only to the substance of trade policy but to the processes through which it is effected. Growing realization of the need to enhance transparency and legitimacy in trade policy decision-making is reflected in debates on the openness of the multilateral processes most obviously represented by the World Trade Organization. Somewhat less attention has been paid to ways in which national trade policy processes are adapting to these pressures. The article argues the need to redress the balance and suggests that it is possible to analyse the development of at least some national trade policy environments in terms of a shift from a ‘club’, through an ‘adaptive club’ to a ‘multistakeholder’ model. These are examined with specific reference to the development of the latter in the Canadian and European Union contexts.
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