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Effects of WTO accession on policy-making in sovereign states: preliminary lessons from the recent experience of transition countries

The purpose of the paper is to discuss the effects of WTO accession on policy-making and institutional reforms in transition countries. This is done by looking at the experience of those transition countries which are already Members of the WTO. We start by examining the effect of accession on trade policy and distinguish between the effects of accession negotiations and those of autonomous policy initiatives. Other areas of domestic policy-making considered in the analysis include market access, governance, government budget, structural reforms, trade and investment arrangements with regional partners and macroeconomic management. We find that no precise blueprint of accession conditions can be ascertained, that WTO played a role, albeit not an exclusive one in the process of liberalization, that the costs of WTO Membership are not negligible, that the benefits of WTO Membership are also significant in terms of a better market access, improved governance and a recourse to better economic policies.

No: DERD-2002-02


Marc Bacchetta — WTO
Zdenek Drabek — WTO

Manuscript date:  April 2002

Key Words

WTO Accessions, Trade Policy, Transition Countries

JEL classification numbers  

F1, F13

Disclaimer back to top

This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of individual staff members or visiting scholars, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the authors. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Development and Economic Research Division, World Trade Organization, rue de Lausanne 154, CH-1211 Genéve 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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