Winners and Losers in the Asia-Pacific
Edited by Noel Gaston and Ahmed M. Khalid
Chapter 3: Economic Integration in Extended East Asia: Toward a New Trade Regime
Fukunari Kimura* INTRODUCTION East Asia, or extended East Asia, used to be relatively slow in the worldwide boom of regionalism.1 By the year 2000, only two free trade agreements (FTAs) had been successfully concluded in extended East Asia: Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relations (CER) and the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). However, since then, the area has become one of the most active regions in FTA networking. Compared with other regions such as Europe, North America, and Latin America, FTA networking in extended East Asia has three distinctive characteristics. First, with respect to the structure, bilateral and plurilateral FTA networking have developed in an open setting, rather than limiting membership and deepening integration. FTAs are highly flexible policy tools in terms of (i) the speed in concluding negotiations, (ii) the scope of policy modes included in agreements, and (iii) the sequencing in concluding multiple FTAs. Extended East Asia has taken full advantage of such properties of FTAs and has developed FTA networking from ASEAN to multiple ASEAN-plus-one FTAs, and FTAs with countries beyond the region. Second, regarding the nature of its participants, East Asia is a mixture of countries differing widely in income levels and stages of development. The recent participation by Australia, New Zealand, and India has further enhanced diversity. Consequently, FTAs in this region are not simple legal concessions for the symmetric liberalization of the trade regime but are accompanied by asymmetric elements regarding development issues. Deepening economic integration and narrowing development gaps are essential and are...
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