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Demystify Protectionism: The WTO Trade Policy Review of Japan


  • Fukunari Kimura


This paper reviews the eighth Trade Policy Review (TPR) for Japan. It begins with an appreciation of its fair and well-balanced work in updating knowledge on the progress of policy reform in Japan. The TPR confirms the recovery of the Japanese economy with some notable improvements in its policy environment, the example of which is competition policy. On the other hand, there still remain notable trade impediments, particularly in agriculture. Some agricultural products are still heavily protected by complicated border measures. This paper provides some supplementary information, namely that the domestic production of most of the heavily protected products, with the exception of rice, are highly concentrated geographically, suggesting the politico-economic background. The rise of regionalism is mentioned as another topical issue in Japan though the characteristics and significance of free trade agreement networking by Japan are not fully discussed by the TPR. The TPR praises Japan's effort in providing the generalised system of preferences (GSP), but this paper offers a somewhat sceptical view of the role of GSP as a useful tool for developing countries. Overall, the TPR for Japan is assessed as a good starting point for dealing with the remaining issues on international commercial policies in Japan. Copyright 2008 The Author. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Fukunari Kimura, 2008. "Demystify Protectionism: The WTO Trade Policy Review of Japan," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(11), pages 1383-1392, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:31:y:2008:i:11:p:1383-1392

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fukunari KIMURA, 2006. "International Production and Distribution Networks in East Asia: Eighteen Facts, Mechanics, and Policy Implications," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 1(2), pages 326-344.
    2. Baldwin,Richard & Haapararanta,Pertti & Kiander,Jaakko (ed.), 1995. "Expanding Membership of the European Union," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521481342.
    3. Baldwin, Robert E, 1989. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 119-135, Fall.
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