Chapter 4: Major Trade Trends in APEC Economies: Implications for Regional Trade Agreements
4. Major trade trends in APEC economies: implications for regional free trade agreements Yanrui Wu INTRODUCTION The concept of bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) has recently attracted a lot of attention in the Asia-Paciﬁc region.1 Several countries are leading the race by successfully signing free trade agreements (FTAs) with each other. For example, Australia recently completed FTAs with Singapore, Thailand and the United States; Singapore had an FTA with Chile, New Zealand and the United States, respectively. Other members of the Asia-Paciﬁc Economic Cooperation (APEC) group are also in the process of negotiation towards an FTA such as Australia and China, and Japan and ASEAN. There is, however, little empirical research which would provide economic rationales for the completion of those FTAs and potentially more to be signed. This chapter attempts to make a contribution towards the understanding of bilateral trade among APEC economies by examining the changing trends in trade among APEC members, and between members and non-members, and to use the ﬁndings to draw implications for regional free trade agreements. This chapter is not aimed at presenting a comprehensive survey of the ﬁeld. Instead it focuses on several key issues associated with bilateral trade between APEC economies and sheds some light on the development of FTAs in the Asia-Paciﬁc region. The rest of the chapter begins with a description of the trend in growth of trade among APEC members. This is followed by an examination of intra-regional trade and then an exploration of comparative advantages...
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