This study centers on the phenomenon of 'paradiplomacy' that has become prominent in Western industrialized liberal-democracies. It begins by distinguishing three layers of paradiplomacy, arguing that paradiplomacy can be a multifunctional vehicle for reinforcing interests and protecting identity. It then discusses the various choices that are made when developing a paradiplomacy, including designing new structures and selecting partners. Next, the study addresses the issue of intergovernmental relations in the context of paradiplomacy and, more specifically, the attitude of central government towards a sub-state units developing activities that could be classified as constituting paradiplomacy, when these last nourish nationalist aspirations. Finally, the last section offers a brief discussion of the implications of paradiplomacy for democracy, democratic consultation and representation.