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Topics: International trade, World Trade Organization, Free trade / Pages: 30 (7465 words) / Published: Oct 15th, 2013
Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review

Vol. 3, No. 2, December 2007

Lessons from Kyrgyzstan’s
WTO Experience for Kazakhstan,
Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
Richard Pomfret*

ABSTRACT

K

yrgyzstan’s swift WTO accession in 1998 reflected the importance of policy coherence. The Kyrgyz application moved quickly because there was little problem incorporating the small economy into the WTO rule-based global economy. The main obstacle in other Central Asian countries’ WTO accession negotiations has been the reservations of WTO members regarding the applicants’ commitment to a market-based economy, and the reluctance of Uzbekistan,
Kazakhstan and Tajikistan to compromise the non-market and discretionary elements of their economic systems. The nexus between trade policy and domestic policy reform is especially vital for landlocked countries because the negative impact on trade costs of inadequate domestic reform and the failure to recognize WTO rules reinforce the disadvantaged trade position due to geography. For Kyrgyzstan, early
WTO accession caused no harm, and although it would have benefited from its neighbours’ concurrent accession, there was no first-mover disadvantage to the country. The main lesson from the Kyrgyz WTO experience is that WTO offers a rule-based system with added benefits (access to the dispute resolution mechanism and a seat at the WTO negotiating table) whose importance depends upon circumstances. The added benefits are likely to be more important to Kazakhstan, which has suffered from anti-dumping duties imposed on its steel exports, and to
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which suffer from the cotton policies of WTO members, than they have been to Kyrgyzstan.
*

Associate Dean (research) and Professor of economics, School of Economics, University of Adelaide,
SA 5005, Australia, e-mail: richard.pomfret@adelaide.edu.au. Any errors are the responsibility of the author; the views expressed are those of the author and



References: Arvis, Jean-François, Gael Raballand and Jean-François Marteau (2007). The Cost of Being Landlocked: Logistics Costs and Supply Chain Reliability, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4258 (Washington, D.C.). Bacchetta, Marc and Zdenek Drabek (2002). Effects of WTO Accession on Policy-making in Sovereign States: Preliminary Lessons from the Recent Experience of Transition Baffes, John (2005). “The ‘cotton problem’”, The World Bank Research Observer, vol. 20, No Campos, Nauro (2004). “What does WTO membership kindle in transition economies? An empirical investigation”, Journal of Economic Integration, vol Eschenbach, Felix and Bernard Hoekman (2006). Services Policies in Transition Economies: On the European Union and the World Trade Organization as Commitment Mechanisms, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3951 (Washington, D.C.). Ferrantino, Michael (2006). “Policy anchors: do FTAs serve as vehicles for policy reform?”, paper presented at the American Economic Association meetings in Jensen, Jesper and David Tarr (2007). The Impact of Kazakhstan Accession to the World Trade Organization: A Quantitative Assessment, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4142 (Washington, D.C.). Langhammer, Rolf J. and Matthias Lücke (1999). “WTO accession issues”, The World Economy, vol Pomfret, Richard (2003). “Trade and exchange rate policies in formerly centrally planned economies”, The World Economy, vol _______ (2005). “Trade policies in Central Asia after EU enlargement and before Russian WTO accession: regionalism and integration into the world economy”, Economic Rose, Andrew (2004). “Do we really know that the WTO increases trade?”, The American Economic Review, vol Subramanian, Arvind, and Shang-Jin Wei (2007). “The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly”, Journal of International Economics, vol Vol. 3, No. 2, December 2007 Tsogtbaatar, Damdin (2005) Tumbarello, Patrizia (2005). Regional Trade Integration and WTO Accession: Which is the Right Sequencing? An Application to the CIS, IMF Working Paper No

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