Toward Win-Win Regionalism in Asia: Issues and Challenges in Forming Efficient Trade Agreements
Many economists tend to be skeptical of the merits of Free-Trade Areas (FTAs) due to their second-best nature, while others support them under certain conditions, particularly as they allow for a more comprehensive treatment of trade- and investment-related issues than is currently possible under the 149-member WTO. This paper endeavors to bridge this analytical chasm by developing a blueprint for Ã¢ÂÂfirst-bestÃ¢ÂÂ regionalism based on Ã¢ÂÂbest practices.Ã¢ÂÂ It then applies the associated set of rules to existing FTAs in Asia (both intra- and extra-regional) to guage the degree to which they approach best practices. In summary, we find that most accords receive high marks in most areas, with the exception of Ã¢ÂÂrules of originÃ¢ÂÂ and certain service sectors.
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