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Recent Trends in Asian Integration and Japanese Participation

Discussion Papers


by KAGAMI Mitsuhiro
September 2010


In East Asia, de facto integration is taking place because Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are flourishing in the region. ASEAN aims to form an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 with the completion of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). Surrounding countries have been competing with each other to forge FTAs or EPAs with ASEAN, including China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and India. As a result, ASEAN has become a trading hub in East Asia. Bilateral FTAs/EPAs are also partly in place among 16 countries (ASEAN + 6). These economic ties in trade, services and investment are accelerating this region’s development as the world’s largest production base and biggest consumption market, helping to turn around the global recession in the aftermath of the so-called Lehman Shock. However, some problems also need to be pointed out in the East Asian integration such as the spaghetti bowl effect, severe competition, labor issues, environmental destruction and power struggles.

Keywords: AEC, AFTA, ACFTA (ASEAN-China Free Trade Area), AKFTA (ASEAN- Korea Free Trade Area), AJCEP (ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership), AANZFTA (ASEAN-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area), AIFTA (ASEAN-India Free Trade Area), ASEAN + 3, ASEAN + 6, spaghetti bowl effect
JEL classification: F15

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