Trade in Developing East Asia: How It Has Changed and Why It Matters

39 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2019

See all articles by Ileana Cristina Constantinescu

Ileana Cristina Constantinescu

World Bank

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Michele Ruta

Economic Research Division, WTO; Columbia Business School - Economics Department; International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 30, 2018


East Asia, for long the epitome of successful engagement in trade, faces serious challenges: technological change that may threaten the very model of labor intensive industrialization and a backlash against globalization that may reduce access to important markets. The analysis in this article suggests that how East Asia copes with these global challenges will depend on how it addresses three more proximate national and regional challenges. The first is the emergence of China as a global trade giant, which is fundamentally altering the trading patterns and opportunities of its neighbors. The second is the asymmetric implementation of national reform – in goods trade and investment versus services – which is affecting the evolution of comparative advantage and productivity in each country. The third is the divergence between the relatively shallow and fragmented agreements that regulate the region's trade and investment and the growing importance of regional and global value chains as crucial drivers of productivity growth.

Keywords: Trade Policy, Goods Trade, Services Trade, China, Trade Agreements, Global Value Chains

JEL Classification: F13, F14, F15, F6

Suggested Citation

Constantinescu, Ileana Cristina and Mattoo, Aaditya and Ruta, Michele, Trade in Developing East Asia: How It Has Changed and Why It Matters (December 30, 2018). East Asian Economic Review Vol. 22, No. 4 (December 2018) 427-465, DOI: Available at SSRN: or

Ileana Cristina Constantinescu (Contact Author)

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Aaditya Mattoo

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Room MC 3-327
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-8047 (Phone)
202-676-9810 (Fax)


Michele Ruta

Economic Research Division, WTO ( email )

Rue de Lausanne 154
CH-1211 Geneva


Columbia Business School - Economics Department ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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