EU MARKET ACCESS AND EXPORT PERFORMANCE OF TRANSITION COUNTRIES
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A remarkable upgrading of export performance and a major re-orientation of foreign trade in favour of the EU-15 have been among the most outstanding features of the transition and EU integration processes of former socialist countries from Central, Eastern and South East Europe. This paper looks at the importance of (EU) market access for the upgrading of the export performance of these countries. Based on the empirical approach of Redding and Venables (2003, 2004), and Fugazza (2004), it was found that market access growth represents the main determinant of export growth for transition countries. Additionally, the importance of foreign market access growth for the export growth of transition countries is constantly increasing. Market access growth, in the case of both the NMS-8 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and most of the CC-3 (Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) occurred predominantly within the EU-15. Better EU-15 market access can largely explain the better export performance of the NMS-8 in comparison to other transition countries.
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