Research Handbook on Economic Diplomacy
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Research Handbook on Economic Diplomacy

Bilateral Relations in a Context of Geopolitical Change

Edited by Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Selwyn J.V. Moons

This Handbook positions economic diplomacy as a multidisciplinary field and presents state of the art research relevant to policy makers and academia around the globe focusing on four themes: the role of economic diplomats, the impact and evaluation of economic diplomacy, politics and trade and emerging markets. It offers academic, business and policy perspectives taking stock of knowledge produced with qualitative and quantitative research on Northern America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
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Chapter 8: Quantitative evidence on commercial diplomats’ time allocation on roles and activity areas

Olivier Naray


The author provides quantitative evidence on commercial diplomats’ time allocation on their roles (facilitation, advisory and representation), activity areas (trade promotion, investment promotion and so on) and individual features, thus filling the gap in the current literature focusing on the managerial dimension of commercial diplomacy. His results show that commercial diplomats spend more than half of their time on the activity area of trade promotion. Commercial diplomats may have to tackle too many different technical activity areas such as intellectual property and tourism. Therefore, diplomats risk losing focus on their core business. It is recommended to reconfirm trade promotion as the core business instead of overwhelming commercial diplomats with other technical areas such as research and development and science and technology. The question also arises as to what extent the heavy advisory role is still recommendable while private business firms provide services that could partially replace this function.

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