The Impact of AFTA on Intra-AFTA Trade
ASEAN countries have liberalized intra-ASEAN trade over the last 20 years by establishing the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). This paper aims to examine the impact of trade liberalization under AFTA on intra-ASEAN trade. By applying a gravity model, we find positive and significant trade creation effects from the tariff elimination for a wide range of products. We also find that the elasticity of tariff reduction on imports tends to be much larger than that on exports. Trade creation effects for the new ASEAN members are relatively small compared to those for the old members. Our results show that AFTA has been successful in promoting intra-AFTA trade, but we argue that further expansion may be achieved by increasing the use of AFTA and by reducing/removing non-tariff measures (NTMs) through such ways as improving customs procedures and harmonizing/mutually recognizing product standards.
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