17 October 2003


Further consolidation of reforms would enhance benefits

The WTO report, along with a policy statement by the Government of Bulgaria, will be the basis for the first Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Bulgaria by the Trade Policy Review Body of the WTO on 15 and 17 October 2003.


Bulgaria has undertaken significant reforms including, liberalization of its trade policies, since acceding to the WTO in 1996. More recently, the reform process has been accelerated by Bulgaria’s goal of joining the European Union in 2007. The resulting more open and competitive trade regime has contributed to Bulgaria’s notable macroeconomic recovery since 1997, and increased its trade with the rest of the world, in particular from preferential regional sources.

A report on the trade policies and practices of Bulgaria, released on 17 October by the WTO Secretariat, notes that the broad trade policy reforms undertaken by Bulgaria cover its customs, tariff, import licensing, contingent trade instruments, standards, government procurement, trade-related intellectual property, and services regimes. Sectoral reforms implemented include land restitution in the agricultural sector, and privatization of most state-owned enterprises in the manufacturing, financial and tourism sectors.

Despite the positive effects of reform on the macroeconomic and trade environment, maintaining sustained economic growth and reducing widespread unemployment and poverty remain major economic challenges. Reducing the gap between Bulgaria’s applied and bound MFN tariff rates would enhance the predictability of the trade regime for goods. Furthermore, consolidation and acceleration of structural reforms in such areas as the judicial system and in the energy and agricultural sectors would serve to increase the benefits from a more liberal trade regime.

The following documents are available in MS Word format.


Note  back to top

Trade Policy Reviews are an exercise, mandated in the WTO agreements, in which member countries’ trade and related policies are examined and evaluated at regular intervals. Significant developments that may have an impact on the global trading system are also monitored. For each review, two documents are prepared: a policy statement by the government of the member under review, and a detailed report written independently by the WTO Secretariat. These two documents are then discussed by the WTO’s full membership in the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB). These documents and the proceedings of the TPRB’s meetings are published shortly afterwards.

Print copies of previous TPR publications are available for sale from the WTO Secretariat, Centre William Rappard, 154 rue de Lausanne, 1211 Genève 21 and through the on-line bookshop.

The TPR publications are also available from our co-publisher Bernan Press, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham, MD 20706-4391, United States.


Schedule of forthcoming reviews  back to top

Guyana: 29, 31 October 2003
Haiti: 4, 6 November 2003
Thailand: 12, 14 November 2003