WTO accessions: A rules perspective on growth – the approach of the European Union

In today’s difficult economic conditions and in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, growth is more than ever the priority of governments. Economic growth, employment, wealth, health and political stability are intrinsically linked notions, and each is essential for the others. Trade and economic integration have been credited as core means to deliver growth. The heads of the EU member states have recently reiterated the importance of free, fair and open trade for growth, and have highlighted the European Union’s objective to promote, among other things, international regulatory convergence. Trade liberalisation is a major structural reform in itself, creating incentives for investments, modernisation and increased competitiveness. Moreover, in a world of increasing production interdependence as a consequence of global supply chains, achieving regulatory convergence is not a question for consideration but an imminent necessity if trade and growth are to be preserved and stimulated. The WTO offers both a beacon for economic reforms and an unprecedented forum for economic partnership.

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