International negotiations: a possible concept.

Author:Manzur, Tania M.J. P.G.

International negotiations relate to many areas of study, among which are diplomacy, business, law, international trade and international cooperation, just to mention some. In each of these fields one specific and particular definition or approach can be applied to the term, as can be seen in the examples that follow.

Having in mind the diplomatic perspective, for instance, one can affirm that "International negotiation is as it says: inter-national. It is about negotiation between countries. International negotiation occurs all the time between governments (...). It also happens between individuals and companies, where the traps and tricks of cross-border negotiation can ensnare even the most experienced home-country negotiators." (Available at: international_negotiation.htm. Accessed on February 15th, 2008). It is an activity related to foreign policy, foreign affairs, to the foreign offices of different countries, and preparing international negotiators means at times, fulfilling a checklist "to achieve and record a consensus in the discussion, rather than-as its form might imply-to contribute a chapter to a manual on government practice" (WINHAM, 1979, pp. 111-135).

In business terms, on the other hand, negotiation is seen as connections between marketers of different nationalities, given that "Business negotiations occupy a prominent place in international trade because any transaction is in some way negotiated even though on a limited range of issues" (GHAURI & USUNIER, 2003, p. xi).

Still, according to Berton et alii,

"Negotiations take place at various levels--among individuals, groups and states. Negotiations are necessary not only among rivals, opponents and enemies--be they potential or actual--but even between close friends and allies. In other words, even among people whose objectives, tasks and interests are identical, negotiations are still necessary for the purpose of adjusting their differences in approach, method, division of labor, and burden--or cost-sharing. Naturally, negotiations are even more necessary among people, groups or states with conflicting interests" (BERTON; KIMURA & ZARTMAN, 1999, p. viii). "Negotiation (...) is a universal human behavior, whose origin can be traced back to the very beginning of history. Negotiation is also the main means for resolving conflicts, thereby serving as an important tool of diplomacy. With the end of the Cold War, the significance of negotiation in international politics has increased" (BERTON; KIMURA & ZARTMAN, 1999, p. viii). First, because new wars have erupted since then, such as the one in former Yugoslavia, or some conflicts in Africa, but, on the other hand the Cold War lost its heat in terms of the superpowers--the US and former USSR having moved from confrontation to cooperation in many areas. All these situations are good ground for international negotiators to try to find efficient solutions to problems or reach...

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