From De Facto to De Jure Economic Integration in East Asia: Past, Present and Future

  • Daisuke Hiratsuka
  • Fukunari Kimura
Part of the IDE-JETRO Series book series (IDE)


Economic integration in East Asia, particularly in trade, has made remarkable progress, along with high economic growth, enhancement of regional competitiveness and agglomeration of industry in the region. The rapid progress of de facto (informal) economic integration through trade and foreign investment has prompted interest in de jure (formal) integration to institutionalize regional cooperation. This would not only provide an efficient and stable regional trade and investment system but also narrow socio-economic disparities in East Asia and complement international trading systems governed by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In fact, in East Asia, regional trade arrangements have prevailed in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs) centring on ASEAN, such as ASEAN-China, ASEAN-Korea and ASEAN-Japan, to name a few. FTAs will certainly improve predictability as compared with the current trade system which carries the risk of most Asian countries raising their tariff until the bound tariff in the WTO. The suspension of the Doha round of the WTO trade negotiations in July 2006 might catalyze the regional trade arrangements, so that, at the bilateral, plurilateral and wider levels, East Asia will enter into a new era of regional trading arrangements.1 Such movement is complementary to WTO processes and may induce WTO members to resume the stalled Doha trade talks.


European Union World Trade Organization Economic Integration Intermediate Good Free Trade Area 
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© Institute of Developing Economies (IDE), JETRO 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daisuke Hiratsuka
  • Fukunari Kimura

There are no affiliations available

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