The Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific: A Constructive Approach to Multilateralizing Asian Regionalism

23 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2011

See all articles by C. Fred Bergsten

C. Fred Bergsten

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Marcus Noland

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; East-West Center

Jeffrey J. Schott

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Date Written: December 28, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the prospect of realizing regional economic integration via the mechanism of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). The FTAAP initiative represents a politically ambitious, high potential benefit option for achieving Asian regional integration. Among its desirable attributes, the FTAAP initiative could help revive and promote a successful conclusion of the Doha Round negotiations; constitute a 'Plan B' hedge if Doha fails; short-circuit the further proliferation of bilateral and sub-regional preferential agreements that create substantial new discrimination and discord within the Asia-Pacific region; defuse the renewed risk of 'drawing a line down the middle of the Pacific' as East Asian, and perhaps the Western Hemisphere, initiatives produce disintegration of the Asia-Pacific region rather than the integration of that broader region that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was created to foster; channel the People’s Republic of China-United States economic conflict into a more constructive and less confrontational context; and revitalize APEC, which is of enhanced importance because of the prospects for Asia-Pacific and especially the PRC-US fissures. An incremental approach to the FTAAP, explicitly embodying enforceable reciprocal commitments, offers the best hope delivering on the concept’s abundant benefits.

Keywords: regional economic integration, asia-pacific, doha round negotiations

JEL Classification: F14, F23, F31

Suggested Citation

Bergsten, C. Fred and Noland, Marcus and Schott, Jeffrey J., The Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific: A Constructive Approach to Multilateralizing Asian Regionalism (December 28, 2011). ADBI Working Paper No. 336, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1977409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1977409

C. Fred Bergsten (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Marcus Noland

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

East-West Center ( email )

1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96848-1601
United States

Jeffrey J. Schott

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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