New Bilateralism in the Asia-Pacific

18 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2003

See all articles by Peter Lloyd

Peter Lloyd

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics


This paper reviews recent changes in the geographic pattern of regional trading agreements (RTAs), focusing on examples from the Asia-Pacific area. The general pattern is one of new bilateral agreements combined with a trend towards continentalism. The new trend towards bilateralism can be explained largely by a fear of countries being excluded from their major markets as other countries secure preferential and superior access to these markets. This pattern is creating many intersections between RTAs with consequential multi-tiered preferences and multiple systems of trade rules. Viewed dynamically, however, this pattern may have positive effects on world trade. It mitigates the effects of large continental RTAs and may lead to coalescence or enlargement of RTAs. The paper reviews models which ask the important question as to whether this process will progress all the way to free trade for the world economy.

Suggested Citation

Lloyd, Peter John, New Bilateralism in the Asia-Pacific. Available at SSRN:

Peter John Lloyd (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010


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