Competitiveness of the ASEAN Countries
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Competitiveness of the ASEAN Countries

Corporate and Regulatory Drivers

Edited by Philippe Gugler and Julien Chaisse

In an age of increased necessity for competitiveness of nations and at a time when the world economy is facing recession, this book explores the possible trajectory of ASEAN – arguably one of the most dynamic areas in the world – as a regional economic and political bloc. The expert contributors address the industrial competitiveness of ASEAN and analyse the role of MNEs against the background of the challenges of integration. They illustrate that regional integration will only be a success if ASEAN’s linkages are broadened with global partners through negotiations of Free Trade Agreements. The book concludes that although much still remains to be done, and many promises are still to be unveiled, ASEAN’s ‘coming of age’ is an historic milestone.
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Chapter 8: Are ASEAN FTAs Used for Exporting?

Ganeshan Wignaraja


Ganeshan Wignaraja INTRODUCTION The spread of free trade agreements (FTAs) centred on ASEAN is one of the most interesting trade policy developments in East Asia today (Chia and Soesastro 2007). As stated by Julien Chaisse and Philippe Gugler in Chapter 1, ASEAN has significant geo-strategic value making it an entity with which all the major powers could interact. Until 2004, the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) – involving Indonesia and the region’s smaller economies – was the sole agreement (see Table 8.1). Since then, a burst of FTA activity has occurred and seven ASEAN+1 FTAs were in various stages of implementation by early May 2009. ASEAN+1 FTAs are already in effect with major trading partners (China, Japan and Korea) and another with Australia/New Zealand is expected soon. India has also concluded an agreement with ASEAN on trade in goods. Debashis Chakraborty and Dipankar Sengupta in Chapter 10 observe that there is considerable scope for enhanced intra-bloc trade once the FTA is in place. Negotiations with the European Union are engaged but the task ahead is formidable as cautiously concluded by Ludo Cuyvers in Chapter 12. Regionalization of these ASEAN+1 FTAs into large region-wide integration schemes is on the agenda, with alternative proposals (for example the East Asian Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) or Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA)) being pursued. Recent ASEAN FTA activity has been spurred on by several factors including the stalled Doha round talks, renewed interest in ASEAN integration and the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community by...

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