Is Trade in Asia Really Integrating?

Publication | January 2012

Is intraregional trade in Asia really integrating? It is not easy to answer this ostensibly simple question. There are two ways to assess the level of trade integration: de facto integration and de jure integration. With respect to de facto integration (actual level of interdependence in terms of trade flows), the answer depends on which Asian countries are being considered and which indicator is being using to measure trade interdependence. This paper compares the trade interdependence of different sets of Asian countries using various indices. With respect to de jure integration (the signing of free trade agreements [FTAs]), the number of signed FTAs in Asia is growing but the relation between trade interdependence and the signing of FTAs has not been sufficiently studied. The second half of this paper addresses whether de jure trade integration is ultimately brought about by high-level or low-level de facto trade integration.

Contents 

  • Introduction
  • Recent Development of Trade Interdependence in Asia
  • Relation between Trade Interdependence and Free Trade Agreements
  • Policy Implications
  • Conclusion
  • References