Political Economy of Northeast Asian Regionalism

Political Economy of Northeast Asian Regionalism

Political Conflict and Economic Integration

Edited by Jehoon Park, T. J. Pempel and Gérard Roland

This book is an objective analysis combining both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ (most notably US) perspectives of Northeast Asian regionalism. It also usefully applies regional integration theories to the realities of the Northeast Asian situation and presents policy options for regional integration.

Chapter 7: The FTA Policies of China, Japan and Korea and Prospects for a CJK FTA: Korea’s Perspective

Hyungdo Ahn

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, economics and finance, asian economics, political economy, regional economics, politics and public policy, political economy


Hyungdo Ahn* INTRODUCTION The proliferation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) around the world has intensified over the last 15 years. The WTO reports that there are now 217 Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) around the world as of July 2007 (see Table 7.1), and there will be about 300 RTAs in the near future when taking into account the RTAs currently under negotiation. This is a remarkable development when one takes note of the fact that there were only 27 RTAs by the end of 1990. It seems that FTAs have got fully underway in recent years. While there are differing views on whether this worldwide phenomenon will turn out to be beneficial or detrimental to the establishment of a more open and free economic environment in the world, the positive economic impacts of FTAs have led policy makers and the general public to reconsider the issue and the benefits of lower trade barriers. The Northeast Asian region chose to ignore the trend of FTAs in the 1990s when a total of 162 RTAs were formed. It was only after the Asian financial crisis that Northeast Asian countries began to realize the importance of regional economic cooperation and to adopt FTAs as important agendas in their trade policies. The three Northeast Asian countries, though, pursue FTAs based on different goals and with varying intensity. Another important issue – at least to Korea – is whether a Northeast Asian FTA is, in fact, feasible. The Korean government has set...

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