Clothes Without an Emperor: Analysis of the Preferential Tariffs in ASEAN
Posted: 28 Oct 2008
Date Written: June 26, 2008
This paper examines the current state of intra-ASEAN trade under the preferential regime of the AFTA. It partly addresses some data problems and employs a gravity model to arrive at alternative ways of gauging the importance of preferences in the absence of data on the actual utilization of AFTA preferential tariffs. Our results show that although the range of products where AFTA might have an influence is limited, preferences seem to matter when the differential margin between the MFN and preferential tariff rates reaches a critical amount, allowing regional exporters to cover the costs of requesting preferences. However, at very high differential margins, the significance of AFTA preferences seems to wane. This indicates either the presence of non-tariff measures which prevent traders from exploiting the huge tariff discounts offered by the AFTA, and or, the propensity of ASEAN to extend high preferences on products where little or no intra-ASEAN trade takes place.
Keywords: ASEAN trade policy, Free trade areas, Empirical estimates of preference utilisation
JEL Classification: F13, F14, F15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation