The chapter argues that circular economy (CE) goals of resource and waste management are impossible to obtain in the current governance systems due to a discursive gridlock that disables communication and negotiation channels between key global stakeholders. Many CE practitioners considered the first international CE agreement between China and the European Union a milestone towards globalizing and upscaling CE. However, while the cooperation served a diplomatic purpose, it failed to create new types of collaborative socio-political and economic practices. Based on 72 expert interviews, 40 documents and participant observation, this chapter explores stakeholder perceptions of agency and strategic practices through the Discursive Agency Approach. The results show (1) official and unofficial agents who employ strategies of ‘coalition building’ have agency because they provide a ‘bridging’ function between diverse actor groups; (2) unofficial agents hold more transformative power as they can better bridge differences between groups; and (3) excluded agents may hold the key to changing narratives. This analysis introduces ‘coalition bridging’ and ‘inclusion’ as two new strategic practices. To enable new environmental cooperation narratives, it is crucial for agents to engage with areas of political difference and to include excluded actor groups.