Title: Has CEFTA been a training ground for EU integration? The case of Romania

Authors: Liviu Voinea

Addresses: National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, Romania

Abstract: This paper deals with convergence effects of regional trade agreements. The international literature presents three main motifs to support free trade agreements: stabilisation, avoidance of the hub-and-spoke trade structure, and the training ground argument. This paper analyses Romania|s performance as a CEFTA member from the third perspective: has CEFTA acted as a training ground for EU accession? Statistical analysis, based on a variety of indicators seems to invalidate this argument. In the absence of structural reforms, trade liberalisation may enhance trade volumes but it will not necessarily prepare the economies involved to perform better in a more competitive environment.

Keywords: regional trade agreements; RTAs; trade structure; trade performance; CEFTA; EU integration; European Union; Romania; convergence effects; free trade agreements; EU accession.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTGM.2007.015576

International Journal of Trade and Global Markets, 2007 Vol.1 No.1, pp.53 - 68

Published online: 31 Oct 2007 *

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