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Prospects for Regional Free Trade in Asia

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Author Info

  • Gary Clyde Hufbauer

    ()
    (Institute for International Economics)

  • Yee Wong

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Abstract

Frustrated with lackluster momentum in the WTO Doha Round and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and mindful of free trade agreement (FTA) networks centered on the United States and Europe, Asian countries have joined the FTA game. By 2005, Asian countries (excluding China) had ratified 14 bilateral and regional FTAs and had negotiated but not implemented another seven. Asian nations are also actively negotiating some 23 bilateral and regional FTAs, many with non-Asian partners, including Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union, India, and Qatar. China has been particularly active since 2000. It has completed three bilateral FTAs—Thailand in 2003 and Hong Kong and Macao in 2004—and is initiating another 17 bilateral and regional FTAs. However, a regional Asian economic bloc led by China seems distant, even though China accounts for about 30 percent of regional GDP. As in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, many Asian countries are pursuing FTAs with countries outside the region. On present evidence, the FTA process embraced with some enthusiasm in Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere more closely resembles fingers reaching idiosyncratically around the globe rather than politico-economic blocs centered respectively on Beijing, Brussels, and Washington.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP05-12.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp05-12

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Keywords: Regional free trade agreements; China; trade liberalization; Asia; FTA strategy;

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References

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  1. Harm Zebregs, 2004. "Intraregional Trade in Emerging Asia," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 04/1, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Ng, Francis & Yeats, Alexander, 2003. "Major trade trends in East Asia : what are their implications for regional cooperation and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3084, The World Bank.
  3. Agata Antkiewicz & John Whalley, 2005. "China's New Regional Trade Agreements," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(10), pages 1539-1557, October.
  4. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott, 2005. "NAFTA Revisited: Achievements and Challenges," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 332.
  5. Robert Scollay & John P. Gilbert, 2001. "New Regional Trading Arrangements in the Asia Pacific?," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa63, November.
  6. Paul Brenton & Miriam Manchin, 2002. "Making EU Trade Agreements Work: The Role of Rules of Origin," International Trade 0203003, EconWPA.
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Cited by:
  1. Peter A. Petri, 2006. "Is East Asia becoming more interdependent?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  2. Medalla, Erlinda M. & Mantaring, Melalyn C., 2009. "On Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): the Philippine Perspective," Discussion Papers DP 2009-35, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
  3. Hung-Gay Fung & Jian Zhang, 2007. "An Assessment of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement Between China and Hong Kong," Chinese Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 40(2), pages 36-50, April.
  4. Constantinos Stephanou, 2008. "Liberalization of Trade in Financial Services : Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Other Operational Studies 6280, The World Bank.
  5. World Bank, 2008. "Liberalization of Trade in Financial Services : Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8032, The World Bank.

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