Results / Overcoming Trade Obstacles

Overcoming Trade Obstacles

Region: US


A country’s leading hydrocarbons company had deep expertise in exploration, production, refining, and marketing. The company was also the country’s main investor, its second largest exporter, and—with more than 30,000 employees—one of its top employers. The United States, however, had recently decided not to renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program that allowed the country’s firms increased access to the U.S. market.


As part of a coalition representing the country’s business community, the company was facing a U.S. government—in particular the Congress—that was doubtful of the benefits of continuing with the existing trade preferences for the country. Any strategy to maintain those preferences needed to center on communicating a persuasive narrative to reluctant policymakers, opinion leaders, and other decision makers in Washington, in order to change the political calculus regarding bilateral relations with the country.

Strategic Recommendations

Blue Star Strategies’ experienced team developed a proactive message to drive a government relations strategy in support of the company and to represent its interests and the interests of its corporate coalition. This message focused on three primary areas. First, on the economic impact of GSP and its benefits for U.S. consumers. Secondly, on the U.S. bilateral relationship with the country and the impact of the GSP deliberations on this relationship. And third, on the importance of continuing to support the country’s development and poverty alleviation. These messages were tailored to engage the relevant decision makers at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the Departments of State and Treasury, Congress, and public policy and media institutions.

Program Highlights

Blue Star Strategies focused on providing strategic positioning for the company and its coalition, which brought together several industry leaders affected by the GSP benefits. By defining a powerful “group of leaders” message, Blue Star Strategies positioned the company so that it could play a much more influential role in the process. The strategy also utilized energetic outreach to the press, including reporters and opinion writers at The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Miami Herald, Bloomberg, and Reuters, among others.


Blue Star Strategies’ efforts ultimately resulted in the renewal of GSP benefits for the country. By collaborating closely with the company and the business coalition, Blue Star Strategies worked to successfully illustrate the importance of the United States’ bilateral and commercial partnerships, and definitively changed political sentiment within the U.S. Government.

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