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The relevant provisions for accession to the WTO, mainly entrenched in Article XII of the Marrakech Agreement, do not provide adequate legal basis for the process, the terms and conditions of which are based on "terms to be agreed" between the existing Members and the applicant nations. The inherent flaws in the process have resulted in demands on acceding countries, which are invariably onerous and bear little or no relation to their size, significance, or development status.The paper uses econometric tools to conduct a comparative assessment of commitments in the goods and services sectors.
For the services sector, the paper finds that at all three levels of services classification the commitments of post-Uruguay 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 paper also provides country specific commitment comparisons after controlling for the level of economic development of the countries. In conclusion, the authors make brief recommendation for reform of the process of accession, in light of the costs incurred by applicant countries in the process.
Abbreviations Executive Summary 1 Introduction 2 The Process of Accession to the WTO 3 Services Sector 3.1 Specific Country Commitments under GATS 3.2 Comparison of Specific Commitments in the Services Sector 3.3 Commitments, Per Capita Income and Acceding Countries 3.4 Commitments, Per Capita Income and Exports 3.5 Costs of Accession: Actual versus Predicted Commitments 4 Goods Sector 4.1 Comparison of Bound Tariff Commitments 4.2. Relationship between Final Bound Tariff Rate and Per Capita Income 4.3. Has the Price of WTO Accession Risen Over Time? 4.4. A Comparison of Actual Tariff Regimes 5 Simultaneous Accession to the European Union 5.1 Results for the Services Sector 5.2 Results for the Goods Sector 6 Conclusion References Appendices Tables Figures