Asia's Free Trade Agreements: How Is Business Responding?


February 8, 2011, 3:00 AM EST
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
Masahiro Kawai (Asian Development Bank Institute) and Ganeshan Wignaraja (Asian Development Bank Institute)

Event Summary

The Peterson Institute hosted a meeting February 8, 2011, for the release of a new study entitled Asia's Free Trade Agreements: How Is Business Responding? The book draws on surveys of a large number of companies in the region and was edited by Masahiro Kawai, Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) in Tokyo, and Ganeshan Wignaraja, Principal Economist, Office of Regional Economic Integration, in the Asian Development Bank's Office of Regional Economic Integration in Manila.

It is well known that bilateral and regional free trade agreements are proliferating across Asia. This book is the first project, however, that analyzes the practical impact of those pacts on exporters in the involved countries. The book reports on surveys of a number of such firms in China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand in an effort to discover the business impact of the surge of intergovernmental agreements in recent years. There are a number of important implications for the United States, especially in 2011 as it takes the chair of APEC and pursues a Trans-Pacific Partnership that would seek to reduce the resulting discrimination against it.

Masahiro Kawai has been dean and CEO of the ADBI since 2007 after serving as special advisor to the president of the ADB on regional economic integration. He earned a doctorate in economics from Stanford and has previously served as deputy vice minister of finance for international affairs in Japan, chief economist for the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Region, and professor of economics at both the University of Tokyo and Johns Hopkins University. Ganeshan Wignaraja received his PhD in economics from Oxford University and previously worked at Maxwell Stamp PLC, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Oxford, the OECD, and the Overseas Development Institute.

Event Materials

Asia's Free Trade Agreements: How Is Business Responding?
Book [read-only pdf] | Presentation [pdf]

Handout: A Closer Look at East Asia's Free Trade Agreements [pdf]
Masahiro Kawai and Ganeshan Wignaraja
February 8, 2011