The Asian â€œNoodle Bowlâ€:Is It Serious for Business?
A lively debate is taking place over the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on East Asia's business between those who view the agreements as a harmful Asian "noodle bowl"â€”i.e., overlapping regional trade agreementsâ€”of trade deals and others who see net beneficial effects in terms of regional liberalization and a building block to multilateral liberalization. A lack of enterprise-level data has made it difficult to resolve the debate. Providing new evidence from surveys of 609 East Asian firms (in Japan, Singapore, Republic of Korea [hereafter Korea], Thailand, and Philippines), this paper seeks to address the critical question of whether the Asian noodle bowl of multiple overlapping FTAs is harmful to business activity, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).[ADBI WP NO 136]
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