Ethiopia's Accession to the WTO and the Telecom Sector: Can Ethiopia Accede without Liberalization?

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Addis Ababa University


Ethiopia has applied for membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its accession process is currently in progress. Despite this, the country is referring some service sectors, like the telecom, as untouchable and, as a result, their liberalization seems improbable. This dissertation is therefore intended to inspect the county 's policy position on telecom liberalization and the implications such policy has at the WTO fora. Conceming service liberalization, there are in fact WTO laws that allow flexibility for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to maintain their domestic policy autonomy to certain extent. However, a careful look at accession processes and telecom commitments experience of some recently acceded countries are antithesis to these WTO credos. Though Ethiopia has not submitted its initial service offer and a bilateral negotiation has not commenced yet, it has been told by some WTO Member countries to reconsider its policy on the telecom sector. The research, thus, examines the possibility for Ethiopia to accede to the organization while still sticking to its current policy position. To such end, it came to conclusion that it is hardly possible for the countly to join the organization while keeping the status quo. Key words: Ethiopia, World Trade Organization (WTO), Telecommunication, Liberali zation, Least Developed Countries (LDCs)



Ethiopia, World Trade Organization (WTO),, Telecommunication, Liberali zation,, Least Developed Countries (LDCs)