IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Making of Asia's First Bilateral FTA: Origins and Regional Implications of the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement

  • Takashi Terada
Registered author(s):

    Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ushered in a new era in Japan’s international trade policy in January 2002 when he and his Singaporean counterpart, Goh Chok Tong, signed the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement (JSEPA), the first bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between Asian countries. This trade strategy also reflected Japan’s interest in launching its so-called ‘multi-layered trade policy’ which meant the pursuit of bilateral and regional trading arrangements, including FTAs, in an attempt to complement multilateralism based on the GATT/WTO to reinvigorate efforts to achieve global trade liberalisation. This paper aims to examine how and why Japan and Singapore decided to pursue FTAs, what interests both perceived in their pursuit of FTAs, what elements contributed to both countries being linked in this trade policy arrangement, and what implications the JSEPA has had for the FTA movement in East Asia. It argues that the JSEPA was made possible mainly through Singapore’s initial offer to exclude agricultural products from tariff elimination. But Japan faced problems in seeking FTAs with other ASEAN countries which were less developed than Singapore and had a higher proportion of agricultural exports, as the exclusion of specific agricultural products, such as rice and sugar, would contradict Japan’s claim that its FTAs would bolster the WTO-based multilateral system. The proliferation of FTAs in East Asia may generate a ‘spaghetti-bowl’ effect with varying rules of origin that may divert and distort trade, but the ‘new age’ aspects of the Japan- Singapore agreement will also have some positive economic effects. Although the preferential trade elements of the agreement are detrimental, the smaller portion of tariff elimination results in a smaller trade diversion effect on trading partners. Therefore, the Japan-Singapore agreement carries symbolic meaning in terms of trade policy debates as well as signifying a paradigm shift in Japan’s international trade policy.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/pep/pep-354.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Asia Pacific Economic Papers with number 354.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:354
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Canberra ACT 2601
    Phone: (61-2) 6249 3780
    Fax: (61-2) 6249 3941
    Web page: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/research_units/ajrc/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Shujiro Urata, 2004. "The Emergence and Proliferation of Free Trade Agreements in East Asia," Japanese Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 32(2), pages 5-52, July.
    2. Hertel, Thomas W. & Terrie Walmsley & Ken Itakura, 2001. "Dynamic Effects of the "New Age" Free Trade Agreement between Japan and Singapore," GTAP Working Papers 823, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    3. Kemp, Murray C. & Wan, Henry Jr., 1976. "An elementary proposition concerning the formation of customs unions," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-97, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:354. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Akira Kinefuchi)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.