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Opposing or Supporting Stronger Environmental Regulation? Industry Preferences and Lobbying on Transnational Private Standards in Regulation

Under what conditions do industries lobby for the inclusion of TPS in regulation?

In this study, I expect that for exporting industries, their “ideal” government policy (i.e., the policy that would provide the greatest benefit) is one that is comparatively weak and does not incorporate TPS. Conversely, for import-competing industries, I expect that their ideal policy is one that incorporates TPS, provides preferential treatment for domestic firms, and whose strength is at parity with the existing practices of domestic firms. However, when selecting a lobbying strategy, firms and their industry representatives not only consider their regulatory preferences, but also the extent their advocacy is likely to influence outcomes. As a result, rather than lobby for their ideal policy, they may instead pursue lobbying strategies that are more likely to succeed. I hypothesize that when industries perceive that they are highly influential, they pursue lobbying strategies advocating for their ideal policy. However, when they perceive their influence as low, they pursue lobbying strategies advocating for satisficing outcomes that are preferable to what would be enacted without their advocacy.

Comparing the lobbying strategies of representatives from forest sector industries in Australia, Canada and the UK from 1997 to 2016, I find that industry trade orientation, TPS penetration, and expected political influence explains 19 of 24 lobbying strategies. This result supports the contention that trade concerns are an important determinant of industry lobbying over the design of policies that incorporate TPS. The implication is that import-competing industries support stronger, TPS-inclusive policies as a means of creating non-tariff barriers.