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An Evaluation of the Terms of Accession to the World Trade Organization

A Comparative Assessment of Services and Goods Sector Commitments by WTO Members and Acceding Countries

image of An Evaluation of the Terms of Accession to the World Trade Organization

The relevant provisions for accession to the WTO do not provide an adequate legal basis for the process. Its inherent flaws have resulted in demands on acceding countries which are invariably onerous and bear little or no relation to their size, significance or development status. This book uses econometric tools to conduct a comparative assessment of commitments in the goods and services sectors. For the services sector, the authors find that at all three levels of services classification the commitments of postUruguay Round acceding countries far exceed those of their WTO member counterparts. In the goods sector, apart from the much greater binding coverage rate, the bound tariff rate for acceding countries is much lower than their WTO member counterparts. The book also provides country specific commitment comparisons after controlling for the level of economic development of the countries. In conclusion, the authors make brief recommendations for reform of the process of accession, in light of the costs incurred by applicant countries in the process.

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The Process of Accession to the WTO

Although there were only 23 founder members of the GATT, and it was then considered to be a forum promoting the interests only of developed countries (UNCTAD, 1967), its role underwent a big change in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTNs). The Round was marked by the participation, albeit nominal, of many developing and least developed countries for the first time in the history of trade talks, resulting in an increase in the number of WTO Members to 128 by the end of l994.

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