Prospects for Regional Free Trade in Asia

24 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2005

See all articles by Gary Clyde Hufbauer

Gary Clyde Hufbauer

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; Institute for International Economics

Yee Wong

Institute for International Economics (IIE)

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

Frustrated with lackluster momentum in the WTO Doha Round and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and mindful of free trade agreement (FTA) networks centered on the United States and Europe, Asian countries have joined the FTA game. By 2000, Asian countries had ratified 10 bilateral FTAs, and they are currently negotiating some 20 bilateral FTAs, many with non-Asian partners, including Australia, Canada, Chile, the European Union, India, and Qatar. China has been particularly active since 2000. It has completed three bilateral FTAs - Thailand in 2003 and Hong Kong and Macao in 2004 - and is initiating another 17 bilateral and regional FTAs. However, a regional Asian economic bloc led by China seems distant, even though China accounts for about 30 percent of regional GDP. As in Europe and the Western Hemisphere, many Asian countries are pursuing FTAs with countries outside the region. On present evidence, the FTA process embraced with some enthusiasm in Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere more closely resembles fingers reaching idiosyncratically around the globe rather than politico-economic blocs centered respectively on Beijing, Brussels, and Washington.

Keywords: Regional free trade agreements, China, trade liberalization, Asia, FTA strategy

JEL Classification: F13, F14, N75

Suggested Citation

Hufbauer, Gary Clyde and Wong, Yee, Prospects for Regional Free Trade in Asia (October 2005). Institute for International Economics Working Paper No. 05-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=830106 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.830106

Gary Clyde Hufbauer (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1903
United States

Yee Wong

Institute for International Economics (IIE) ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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