‘Best Practices’ in Regional Trading Agreements: An Application to Asia
Michael Plummer ()
The World Economy, 2007, vol. 30, issue 12, 1771-1796
Regionalism in Asia, particularly in the form of free‐trade areas (FTAs), is a recent trend that is becoming increasingly important. This has been disturbing to many, given the significance of trade and investment in Asian economic growth and development and the region's key role in global commerce. In light of this trend, the goal of this paper is to develop a blueprint, or a set of 10 ‘best practices’, that can be used as a guide to FTAs in order to ensure that they approximate first‐best outcomes to the greatest extent possible. Next, the paper applies this framework to the existing FTAs between Asian countries and their regional and extra‐regional partners. The results suggest that the more advanced regional accords generally receive high grades, with the notable exception of rules of origin, which tend to be even more problematic in the context of accords in which an OECD country is a party.
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