Stabilization and association process in the Banlkans : integration options and their assessment
The stabilization and association process launched by the European Union in the aftermath of the Kosovo war in 1999 has created a new policy environment for five South East European countries (SEE-5). In exchange for EU assistance, the prospect of EU accession, and the continuation of preferential access to EU markets, SEE-5 governments have to upgrade their institutions and governance by European standards and engage in mutual regional cooperation, including stability pact member-countries. The authors examine the benefits to SEE-5 of trade liberalization along two dimensions and suggest conditions under which these could be maximized. They argue that the process of regional trade liberalization should be extended to multilateral liberalization, aligning SEE-5 most-favored-nation (MFN) applied tariffs on industrial products with EU MFN tariffs, and that priority be given to structural reforms and regional cooperation aimed at trade facilitation. As inter-industry trade rather than intra-industry trade dominates intra-SEE-5 trade, the potential for expansion in intra-SEE-5 trade is limited at least within the confines of the existing production structures and transportation infrastructure. Therefore SEE-5 free trade agreements are unlikely to contribute to economic growth without concurrent efforts to improve infrastructure, trade facilitation, business, and investment climate, as well as to increase competition from MFN imports to external preferential suppliers through multilateral liberalization.
|Date of creation:||31 Aug 2003|
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