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Beyond the Uruguay Round : the implications of an Asian free trade area


  • Lewis, Jeffrey D.
  • Robinson, Sherman
  • Zhi Wang


The Pacific Rim members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group have different views about the role each should play in fostering further trade liberalization. But at the November 1994 APEC meetings in Bogor they committed themselves to forming an APEC free trade area. The authors explore: 1) the impact of such a free trade area on trade, welfare, and economic structure of the Pacific Rim economies and the European Union; 2) the implications of forming a partial free trade area, excluding such potential partners as China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economies, or the United States; 3) whether an APEC free trade area provides more benefits than full trade liberalization that includes the European Union. They analyze these issues using a multicountry, computable general equilibrium model to simulate alternative liberalized trade scenarios. Their findings are as follows. Under the base-case scenario (in which all tariff and most nontariff barriers are removed among the APEC countries, China, Japan, ASEAN, the Asian newly industrializing economies (NIEs), and the United States): all APEC countries gain in GDP and the excluded European Union loses sligthly. Gains are greatest for the poorer countries, for whom trade externalities are more significant. Trade expands greatly, and although there is some trade diversion away from the European Union and the rest of the world, that is swamped by the creation of trade within the free trade area. The U.S.-Japan trade balance improves only slightly (by $1.4 billion), and the U.S.-China balance are much larger, suggesting that changes in sectoral protection make movements in particular bilateral trade balances nearly impossible to predict. When one economy is excluded: there are gains from making the free trade area as broad as possible. Omitting any one region (China, the United States, or the ASEAN 4) makes that region significantly worse off and lowers the gains for all other members as well. The Asian NIEs have the most to gain from broad membership. Excluding China reduces Asian NIE gains by about half, and excluding the United States yields even greater declines. Excluding the United States has the worst impact on all other potential members, greater than the effect of omitting China or the ASEAN 4. The European Union is largely unaffected by different versions of the APEC free trade area. Global (versus regional) liberalization: global liberalization that includes the European Union is the best outcome in terms of world GDP and welfare. And all countries gain more from global liberalization than they do from joining an APEC free trade area alone. Forming a regional free trade area may be politically easier than continued global liberalization, but there are economic incentives for all parties to expand on the completed GATT round.

Suggested Citation

  • Lewis, Jeffrey D. & Robinson, Sherman & Zhi Wang, 1995. "Beyond the Uruguay Round : the implications of an Asian free trade area," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1467, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1467

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Scott McDonald & Karen Thierfelder, 2005. "Impact of Switching Production to Bioenergy Crops: The Switchgrass Example January 2005," Working Papers 2005002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
    2. Karen Thierfelder & Scott McDonald, 2012. "Globe v1: A SAM Based Global CGE Model using GTAP Data," Departmental Working Papers 39, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    3. Jayatilleke S. Bandara & Wusheng Yu, 2007. "Agricultural trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region with specific reference to preferential trade agreements - scenario and impact analysis," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT,in: Studies in Trade and Investment - AGRICULTURAL TRADE - PLANTING THE SEEDS OF REGIONAL LIBERALIZATION IN ASIA, volume 60, pages 131-162 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
    4. Ballard, Charles L. & Cheong, Inkyo, 1997. "The effects of economic integration in the Pacific Rim: A computational general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 505-524.
    5. Coyle, William T. & Wang, Zhi, 1998. "Open Regionalism In Apec: Impacts On U.S. Agriculture And Trade," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20981, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    6. Warwick J. McKibbin & K. K. Tang, 2000. "Trade and Financial Reform in China: Impacts on the World Economy," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(8), pages 979-1003, August.
    7. ADKINS Liwayway G. & GARBACCIO Richard F., "undated". "Simulating the Effects of the FTAA on Global Carbon Emissions: A General Equilibrium Analysis," EcoMod2003 330700000, EcoMod.
    8. Hiro Lee & David Roland-Holst & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, 1999. "General Equilibrium Assessments of Trade Liberalization in APEC Countries," Discussion Paper Series 103, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    9. Lee, Hiro & Roland-Holst, David W., 1998. "Prelude to the pacific century: Overview of the region, leading issues, and methodology," MPRA Paper 82339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Sherman Robinson & Zhi Wang & Will Martin, 2002. "Capturing the Implications of Services Trade Liberalization," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 3-33.
    11. Wang, Zhi, 1997. "The Impact of China and Taiwan Joining the World Trade Organization on U.S. and World Agricultural Trade: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis," Technical Bulletins 184382, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    12. Xinshen Diao & Eugenio Díaz-Bonilla & Sherman Robinson, 2003. "Scenarios for Trade Integration in the Americas," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 94-95, pages 33-51.
    13. Decaluwé, B. & Dumont, J.-C. & Mesplé-Somps, S. & Robichaud, V., 2000. "Union économique et mobilité des facteurs; le cas de l'Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africain (UEMOA)," Cahiers de recherche 0009, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    14. McDonald, Scott & Robinson, Sherman & Thierfelder, Karen, 2008. "Asian Growth and Trade Poles: India, China, and East and Southeast Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 210-234, February.
    15. Lewis, Jeffrey D.*Robinson, Sherman, 1996. "Partners or predators? : the impact of regional trade liberalization on Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1626, The World Bank.
    16. McDonald, Scott & Robinson, Sherman & Thierfelder, Karen, 2006. "Impact of switching production to bioenergy crops: The switchgrass example," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 243-265, March.
    17. Wang, Zhi, 1997. "China and Taiwan access to the World Trade Organization: implications for U.S. agriculture and trade," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 17(2-3), pages 239-264, December.
    18. Kym Anderson & Mari Pangestu, 1998. "Structural Changes in a Reforming World Economy: Implications for Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 85-113.
    19. Rodriguez, U-Primo E., 2008. "Impacts of the Free Trade Area of the Pacific (FTAAP) on Production, Consumption, and Trade of the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2008-20, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    20. Plummer, Michael G., 2006. "Toward Win-Win Regionalism in Asia: Issues and Challenges in Forming Efficient Trade Agreements," Working Papers on Regional Economic Integration 5, Asian Development Bank.

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    Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Trade Policy; Transport and Trade Logistics; TF054105-DONOR FUNDED OPERATION ADMINISTRATION FEE INCOME AND EXPENSE ACCOUNT; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Trade Policy; Trade and Regional Integration;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
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