At first glance, the proportion of lobbyists from outside of the European Union does not seem all that great: they make up just 9 percent of the entities in the Transparency Register and account for 11 percent of the overall spending.

The largest share of the non-EU money spent to influence Brussels comes from

  1. United States
  2. Switzerland
  3. Norway
  4. Japan
  5. China
  6. Philippines
  7. Canada
  8. Russia
  9. Malaysia
  10. Turkey

Companies with non-EU origins account for 43 percent of the total spending by Brussels-based lobby groups. Factoring in spending from Brussels, the United States is now the biggest lobbying force by a wide margin, surpassing Germany, the UK and France.  Japan and Switzerland are also in the top 10, though China remains further behind.

Generally speaking, in East Asia there exist close relationships between state and enterprises, whether it is in China, Korea or Japan, so that they are deeply interlinked in the policy process, rather than seeing themselves as separate actors. In the case of China, the tradition of lobbying does not exist, and Chinese companies do not lobby the government in the same way as is done in the US and Europe. Chinese companies are not familiar with the practice of lobbying when they internationalize, and generally do not see any reason to engage in the practice, and especially to engage outside advisers to do it. Another reason why Asian countries are less represented could also stem from the fact that these countries have a preference for dealing bilaterally at intergovernmental level to represent their interests.

On the other hand, as members of the European Economic Area, countries like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland have a much higher stake in single-market rules since these are directly implemented in their respective economies. Unlike EU member states, they do not have a seat at the table and don't have the possibility to vote on new legislation. Lobbying by entities from these countries is one way of exerting influence in EU decision-making.

It should be pointed out that the lobby consultancies, PR firms, and lawyers employed to lobby the EU institutions on behalf of third country governments , or to promote their image that fail to file information about the clients they represent, details of expenditure and policy areas being lobbied on face no sanctions whatsoever. There is simply no enforcement mechanism to do so.

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