WTO, Trade Reforms and the Philippine Economy: Are Filipinos Better Off?

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The Philippines has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995. The WTO accession provided new impetus for the government’s long-term efforts to improve trade and industrial structure and performance, as it created profitable new opportunities in new and expanded markets for various local products. But while official government statements hail the move as successful and positive overall,1 it is not clear how the benefits from the 7-year-old treaty have impacted on the wider economy: Are economic sectors livelier? Are prices lower? Are consumer choices wider? Is the quality of life of the average Filipino better now than would have been the case without the WTO?